Category Archives: Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Use Plants to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Even in sunny Arizona, the average person spends about 80 percent of their lives indoors. Increasingly airtight, today’s homes require less energy for cooling and heating, yet they also have higher rates of toxic gases that can be potentially troublesome, and even toxic, to those who breathe them. Carbon monoxide, ozone and volatile organic compounds can all emanate from paints, carpets, furniture and home office equipment. Particularly during the summer months, when doors and windows are often kept shut due to the extreme heat, it’s important to use strategies to improve air quality. One of the most overlooked ways to counteract toxins and pollutants is to add more plants in your home.

Plants: More Than Just Decorative

Interestingly, most homeowners only think about indoor plants in terms of their aesthetics. Yes, they add color and style to a home, but they actually do much more. Plants improve air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through photosynthesis. They also increase humidity and passively absorb pollutants on the surface of their leaves and through their root system.

In the 1980s, NASA performed a research study to investigate ways to create healthy, breathable environments in outer space. They discovered that certain tropical plants, which are commonly used as house plants, were effective in removing toxins like formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethane from the air and replacing it with breathable oxygen.

While all plants provide some air quality benefits, tropical plants are especially effective. These include:

  • Bamboo palm
  • Chinese evergreen
  • Dracaena
  • Ficus
  • Gerbera daisy
  • Peace lily
  • Philodendron
  • Mother-in-law’s tongue
  • Spider plant

Don’t Forget Your HVAC System

Although plants are beneficial to improving your home’s indoor air quality, it’s also important to ensure your HVAC system is not adding air pollutants. Replacing or cleaning your system’s air filters is vital to keeping your indoor air clean. Regular maintenance is also necessary. Breathe easier by calling Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating today to schedule a maintenance visit at 480-968-5652.

How’s Your Office Indoor Air Quality?

Health problems caused by poor indoor quality in commercial spaces has become a common occurrence. Research from the US Environmental Protection Agency have shown that levels of pollutants are higher in offices and other business settings than outside. In buildings with poor air quality, employees may complain of headaches, nausea, congestion, dizziness and other symptoms. Often, the problems arise when workers enter their office and diminish when they leave. Commonly referred to as “sick building syndrome,” it’s a leading cause of absenteeism and decreased work production.

Sources of Indoor Air Quality Problems

There are usually multiple factors at play in a building that has indoor air quality problems. Typically, there is the presence of indoor air pollutants and poorly planned uses for the building. Common sources of pollutants include:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Asbestos from fire-retardant building supplies and insulation
  • Formaldehyde from office furniture and carpeting
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Restroom air fresheners
  • Paints and adhesives
  • Copy machines and printers
  • Pesticides

However, the number one cause of commercial space indoor air quality problems is inefficiently maintained and operated HVAC systems. Problems can arise in an effort to save energy. Often, these are ventilation-related issues caused by inadequate amounts of outdoor air being circulated. HVAC systems can also be a source of indoor pollution themselves by circulating dirt, dust and biological contaminants that have grown in air conditioners, humidifiers and ventilation ductwork.

Your Partner for All Your Commercial HVAC Needs

Because air quality is vital to your business success, it’s important to choose an HVAC contractor that you can rely on. Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating is among the most trusted Phoenix-area commercial HVAC service providers, partnering with many businesses throughout the Valley. With more than 40 years in business, we have the experience and expertise to get the job done right the first time. From HVAC installation and maintenance to emergency repair, we’re your go-to source for all your commercial air conditioning needs. Call us at 480-968-5652 to learn more.

Are These Air Duct Problems Impacting Your Home Comfort?

If you’re like many greater Phoenix area homeowners, you may be unaware that your HVAC system’s air ducts play a very important role in your home’s comfort, as well as its energy efficiency. Although your heater and air conditioner primarily control your indoor air temperature, your system’s ductwork is responsible for circulating the air throughout your home. In other words, an air duct problem can lead to an uncomfortable, energy inefficient home.

The following are the most common air duct problems that can affect your indoor air and HVAC system’s efficiency.

Design Flaws

You may be surprised to learn that many homes are built with a problematic layout of air ductwork. This is commonly seen when air must run through an extended area of attic. This problem can often be corrected by redirecting ducts to a more direct route to increase efficiency.

Poor Airflow

Another frequently seen air duct problem is inadequate airflow. Along with having a direct route for ductwork, it’s also important to have sufficient return for supply ducts. Your HVAC system requires a sufficient supply of air to heat and cool your home.  Without enough air, your system must work harder and can’t produce as much cooled or heated air.

Duct Blockages

Kinks and twists in ductwork can reduce airflow and decrease efficiency. Holes, tears and gaps in air ducts also cause air to leak out. Leaking ducts also lead to contaminants from the attic, crawl space or basement entering into air within ducts that then flows into your home.

Dirty Air Ducts

Indoor air can be 10 to 70 times more polluted than outdoor air. Dirt, pet hair, dust, pollen, smoke and more can get trapped in your home and continuously circulate through ducts. High humidity and hot temperatures can also spawn mold, fungus, spores and dust mites. This is why it’s important for air ducts and air filters to be cleaned on a regular basis.

At Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating, we can test your home’s air and determine if pollutants and particulates are circulating in your home and provide guidance on the best options for improving your home’s air quality and function of your HVAC system. We can evaluate your HVAC system, including your ductwork, to optimize your home’s comfort and efficiency.

What Pet Owners Should Know about Indoor Air Quality

Do you consider your dogs, cats or other animals to be part of your family? Pets are an incredibly important part of many families in the greater Phoenix area. Yet, they can also impact your home’s indoor air quality.

Most individuals believe that animal allergies are triggered by pet hair Yet, the culprit is usually dander. Dogs, cats and other mammals produce dander which consists of tiny particles that drop from your pet’s skin and fur. To keep dander under control in a home, it’s important to prevent its buildup and to focus on maintaining your indoor air quality.

Bathing and Grooming

Cleaning your pet can help keep dander in check.  This means regular brushing and baths are in order. Follow recommendations from your veterinarian on the optimal schedule for these important tasks.


High quality food and lots of water (especially here in the dry desert climate) are also important for minimizing dander. A healthy coat and skin begins with a proper diet.

Air Filter

Expect to change your indoor air filters more often with pets. Ideally, these should be changed once a month or according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Check your filter on a regular basis and change or clean it if it looks dirty. Consider upgrading to a HEPA filter to catch more dander and fur that is being generated from your pets and circulating in your indoor air.

Consider a Whole-House Air Purifier

Even with diligent grooming, plenty of good food, and clean air filters, your home’s air can still have plenty of sneeze-inducing allergens caused by pets. If you have a family that suffers from allergies, asthma or other health issues, a whole-house air purifier is a smart solution.

At Bruce’s Air Conditioning, our technicians can test your air and determine what type of particulates are circulating inside your home and whether an air purifier would be a wise decision. Installation is quick to enable you to begin enjoying clean, fresh air right away.

Call us today at 480-968-5652 to schedule an appointment.

5 Tips to Maintain Air Quality during the Summer Months

Summer poses unique air quality issues for Arizona homeowners. With extreme heat, most individuals keep their windows and doors shut and the air conditioner on. While this is necessary for comfort, it can also result in unfiltered air trapped in the house. For those with respiratory issues, such as COPD, allergies and asthma, this can be very problematic.

Harmful contaminants, bacteria and particulates are only part of the issue. Desert monsoon dust storms can also bring inside infection-generating spores and plenty of dust which can collect in vents, ductwork and throughout the home.

Yet, there are solutions to maintaining your home’s air quality all year long. The following guidelines can help you breathe easier throughout the season.

    1. Replace Air Filters
      During the summer months, dust storms, also called haboobs, can quickly push dirt and debris into your HVAC system. This ultimately collects in your air filters and ductwork. By getting in the habit of regularly replacing or cleaning air filters, you can minimize much of the contaminants from entering your inside air. Ideally, filters should be replaced or cleaned every few weeks during the summer months.
    2. Stay on Top of Dust
      No one enjoys pulling out a vacuum, broom or feather duster, but it’s necessary for keeping dust levels down. A little housework can go a long way toward managing air quality.
    3. Open Doors and Windows in the Early Morning
      While it’s often over 110 degrees during the late afternoon hours, the temperature can be quite comfortable in the early morning. Take the opportunity to open windows and doors even for a few minutes to encourage air circulation.
    4. Add Some Indoor Plants
      Not only do plants add color to a room, they can also clean indoor air of carbon dioxide and even reduce formaldehyde, benzene, and other toxins. When ventilation is limited due to the heat, a few additional plants can definitely improve overall air quality.
    5. Consider a Whole-House Air Purifier
      A qualified air conditioning technician can provide you with an evaluation of your home’s air to let you know what particulates are circulating inside. In some cases, a whole-house air purifier may be a smart decision to rid your home’s air of dust mites, mildew, fungus, bacteria and more.

With these tips, you can breathe a little easier during the hot months of summer. And, call 480-968-5652 to speak with one of our air quality gurus.