Indoor Air Quality in Houston, TX
Indoor air quality is high on most home and business owners’ priority lists. To have good indoor air quality in Houston, TX, you want to have precision control of five critical factors:
- Temperature control
- Air filtration
- Humidity control
- Air purification
Temperature control is the reason we all have AC and heating systems in our homes and businesses. If you are too hot or too cold, it puts stress on you and your family at home. In a business setting, uncomfortable temperatures can limit productivity. Thermostats are what control our AC and heating systems, and there are plenty of technologically sound options to take advantage of. Our HVAC company in Houston, TX, recommends the Lennox iComfort® thermostats and the Honeywell 9000 and 8000 series thermostats for residential customers. These thermostats have the best features and dependability of any on the market today. We recommend the Honeywell temperature controls for commercial customers.
The Lennox iComfort® S30
The iComfort® S30 is the best Wi-Fi thermostat on the market for your home. With the Schedule IQ feature, you only need to program the thermostat once. Whenever there is a change in your routine, the thermostat adapts heating and cooling to match.
The iComfort® S30’s Smart Away Mode uses the GPS in your smartphone to detect when you are leaving and automatically increases system efficiency. When you or a family member returns home, the Smart Away feature then returns your system to a regular schedule and comfortable temperature.
The iComfort® S30’s Allergen Defender monitors the air quality and pollen levels in your area according to your ZIP code and automatically turns the fan on to clean your home’s air when outdoor levels are high.
When the iComfort® S30 is matched with an inverter driven XC25 or XC20 variable capacity AC system, it takes active control of both temperature and humidity. The iComfort® S30 preserves comfort and peace of mind by actively monitoring system operations. Should any problem ever arise, you and your dealer will be notified.
The Lennox iComfort® Wi-Fi
When the iComfort® Wi-Fi is matched with an inverter-driven XC25 or XC20 variable AC system, it can take control of both temperature and humidity control. The iComfort® Wi-Fi will offer comfort and peace of mind by monitoring all of the indoor air quality systems in your home. You and your dealer will both be notified if any problems occur.
Honeywell Wi-Fi 9000 Programmable Thermostat
Remote comfort control never looked this good! With your home’s Wi-Fi connection, you can control this thermostat from anywhere in the house. With the Total Connect Comfort app, you can monitor or control your heating and cooling system with your smartphone from anywhere and anytime you choose. You will love the look of the thermostat’s colorful, high-definition touch screen which you can change to any color you wish. Simple programming and touchscreen input make the Wi-Fi 9000 thermostat easy to set up and intuitive to use.
The Honeywell Wi-Fi 9000 thermostat offers the following benefits:
- Seven-day programming
- Energy savings mode
- Advanced fan/control comfort
- Simple programming
- Five-year limited warranty
The Honeywell 8000 series thermostats are fantastic touchscreen comfort controls for homeowners who want to spend a little less. There are a variety of models, the most sophisticated having Wi-Fi, the ability to control multistage systems, and unique IAQ features. The most basic model is an easy to use touchscreen single stage thermostat. Home & Business Comfort Specialists also offers Honeywell’s 6000 and 5000 series thermostats.
Avoid the common mistakes many consumers make when it comes to air filtration. To buy an air filter fit for your comfort system, you should know several things:
- The type of blower you have (ECM or non-ECM)
- The capacity of your cooling system (how many tons of cooling)
- The clear area of your return air ductwork
- The clear area of your return air grills
- The total external static pressure affecting the blower
It is best to talk with your air specialist in Houston about which filter is best for you. Equipment manufacturers’ ECM blowers can deliver the proper airflow only when working against .7” WC total external static pressure of less. Non-ECM blowers can produce the proper airflow when working against .5” WC total external static pressure or less. Your comfort system typically needs about .4” WC supply air total static pressure to move the air through the duct system at the proper velocity. This leaves very little room for return air. The biggest selling filters on the market are the expensive, pleated filters you can buy almost anywhere. These filters are almost always the wrong choice. The manufacturer’s highest rated filters produce a static pressure drop of over .3” WC. If you are using this type of filter, it is essential to take the edges of the filter to prevent bypass. It is so hard to pull air through these filters that dirt will pull around the edges of the filter.
Air filters are rated in MERVs. A MERV16 air filter is equal to a HEPA filter. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter captures particles. The higher the MERV rating of an air filter, the more surface area you need to move air through it without having too much pressure drop.
The Best Air Filters for Your Comfort System
Lennox PureAir™ Air Purification System
The PureAir™ system cleans the air in your home better than any other single system you can buy. Single-area air cleaners may help the air in one room, but they do not address pollutants that can circulate throughout your entire home. PureAir™ is a whole-home-solution, which means cleaner air in every room and every breath. Many air cleaning systems filter out particles; some combat germs and some fight odors. Only the PureAir™ Air Purification System addresses all three types of indoor air pollutants.
This system uses a MERV15 media filter combined with a powerful photohydroionization device. The MERV16 filter has an incredible amount of surface area, which allows you to get the best filtration at a reasonable pressure drop. The photohydroionization device destroys VOCs, reduces and destroys ozone pollutants, and kills and destroys mold, bacteria, and viruses all while lowering household odors. Our air specialist in Houston only recommends a MERV16 filter when it is used with a high-efficiency ECM blower.
Lennox Carbon Clean Media Air Cleaner
The #1 Rated Whole-Home Filtration System
The Carbon Clean 16® combines industry-leading MERV 16 filtration with activated, carbon-coated fibers to remove allergy-aggravating particles from your home’s air. This system provides powerful filtration without restricting the airflow of your comfort system. The Carbon Clean 16® is effective against common household allergens that can aggravate asthma and respiratory illnesses. It also attacks germs, viruses, bacteria, and mold. Much like plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the atmosphere, the Carbon Clean 16® removes harmful ozone pollutants from indoor air and converts it into clean, healthy oxygen.
Lennox HC11 Media Air Cleaner
The Healthy Climate® 11 filters out dust, pollen, and other particles to make your home’s air healthier. It does all of this without adding to the cost of running your heating and cooling system. This media air filter is ideal for maximizing the efficiency of your comfort system if you do not need top shelf air cleaning. It will protect the indoor equipment of your comfort system and will work with non-ECM blowers.
In Houston’s climate, we need to remove humidity from our homes and businesses during warmer months and add humidity during the winter.
We recommend maintaining 50% RH (relative humidity) during the summer and 45% RH when the heating system is on. It is important to always think of your home as a system and that every component has to work together. If you have a house with an appropriately sized AC system and then buy new high-efficiency windows and add more insulation, you may have created a significant humidity problem. Now your AC system is too large for your home and will not run long enough to control the humidity adequately. Call our HVAC company in Houston, TX, today, and we can help you plan home improvements to avoid creating problems. Over the last few years, new technology has given us products that make it a lot easier to control humidity in our homes and businesses than ever before.
The Best Products for Humidity Control
Inverter drive AC systems such as the Lennox XC25 and XC20 combined with their iComfort® controllers take an active role in controlling the humidity in your home. The controller monitors temperature and humidity constantly. As the temperature in your home nears the set point of the controller, the system will slow down the blower while ramping up the outdoor unit to satisfy the temperature and the humidity set points at the same time. Standard AC systems will simply turn off when the temperature is at or below the set point regardless of how much humidity you have.
Thermastor Ultra-Aire Whole House Dehumidifier
If you have a humidity problem in your home and you have a reasonably new AC system that is working correctly, a whole house dehumidifier may be the best solution. Our air specialist in Houston recommends whole house dehumidifiers when there is a humidity problem, and it does not make sense to replace the entire AC system. Whole house dehumidifiers are also recommended when the purchase price is not a factor, and you want the absolute best comfort in your home at all times.
The Ultra-Aire XT155H high-capacity, whole-house ventilating dehumidifier features revolutionary XT (extreme technology) dehumidification. XT dehumidification allows this unit to remove up to 155 pints of water per day, provide fresh air ventilation, while only using 8.0 amps. The Ultra-Aire XT155H is Energy Star® rated and effectively dehumidifies up to 3,500 square feet.
As is standard with all Ultra-Aire products, the Ultra-Aire XT155H will effectively dehumidify down to 56°F and will provide outstanding performance, providing whole home comfort all year round. The Ultra-Aire XT155H is controlled by a variety of 24-volt remote wired controls that can be used for many applications.
Aprilaire Model 400 Whole House Humidifier
Many homeowners keep their homes colder than they would prefer during the winter because they do not like the way their heating system dries the air so much. No one likes being zapped when they touch a doorknob or when his or her hair stands on end due to static electricity. When the air in your home is below 45% RH, it also dries out your sinuses. This is why we get cold and flu infections mostly in the winter. A whole house humidifier will allow you to keep the humidity at the recommended level of 45% RH. Your family will be more comfortable and stay healthier.
Stand-Alone Air Purification
If you already have a good whole house media air cleaner can still get the benefits of a photohydroionization device with an activTek “InDuct 2000” Air Scrubber. The activTek INDUCT 2000 utilizes tested ActivePure® technology to substantially reduce odors, visible smoke in the air, and treat contamination on surfaces. Available for 100 or 277-volt installation, the INDUCT 2000 can be inserted into a duct or plenum as a low maintenance way to incorporate air treatment into HVAC systems, requiring no cleaning. This system includes a UV bulb monitoring indicator and covers up to 2000 square feet.
Ventilation is needed in our homes and businesses for a few reasons. Newer energy efficient homes are built very tight. Many products in homes and businesses emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These must be diluted or exhausted as carbon dioxide can build up in both businesses and homes. This should be diluted with fresh air. Homes and businesses in our hot, humid climate should maintain a slight positive pressure in relation to the outdoors. We recommend 3 Pascals, which equals .025” WC. The reason for this is that if your work or living spaces are experiencing a negative barometric pressure relative to the outdoors then outside air will be sucked indoors through all of the worst pathways; bathroom exhaust ducts, kitchen exhaust duct, dryer vents, and fireplaces. Plus, every time you open the door unconditioned dirty air will come rushing in.
Unfortunately bringing in outside fresh air can be expensive to dehumidify, filter and bring to a comfortable temperature.
Home & Business Comfort Specialists is the only contractor that offers custom designed ventilation systems that bring in only the amount of fresh that you need. All of the packaged systems put out by all the big name manufacturers try to control the volume of fresh air by; minutes per hour of blower operation or by the size of the house you input into the controller. The custom systems we can design for your home will bring in only the amount of fresh air you need to maintain the recommended 3 Pascals of positive pressure relative to the outdoors.
Once you get the proper volume of fresh air, you need to filter and condition it. There are a couple of ways to do this:
- Have the Home & Business Comfort Specialists’ custom ventilation system tie into your comfort system so that the ventilation system is only enabled when the system is heating or cooling and have the fresh air pass through the whole house air cleaner. The system would be set up to be able to turn on the blower if your home’s barometric pressure falls below neutral relative to the outdoors.
- We also offer the best packaged fresh air systems (Honeywell and Aprilaire) that can be brought into an ERV (energy recovery ventilator).
A Breath of Fresh Air in Any Season
Bring the outdoors indoors with Honeywell’s TrueFRESH™ Ventilation Systems. It brings fresh air into your house, even if the all the windows are closed. It works to recover heat or cooling from the air leaving the home in any season. What about humidity? TrueFRESH also has energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) that kick into gear on humid days, reducing the amount of humidity coming in.
Contact us today to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable team members about how we can better your indoor air quality in Houston, TX. We proudly serve customers in Bellaire, Cypress, Houston, Katy, Kingwood, Missouri City, Pearland, Spring, Stafford, Sugar Land, Tomball, and The Woodlands.