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Indoor Air Quality Facts

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the pollutant levels inside your home could be five times greater than the pollutant levels outside. Combine this with the fact that we spend almost 90 percent of our time indoors and it should come as no surprise that almost everyone is going to struggle with respiratory problems at some point in their life. Fortunately, a few home upgrades and lifestyle changes could help you remove up to 99 percent of airborne contaminants and significantly improve the indoor air quality in your house.

Poor Indoor Air Quality May Be Making You Sick

Indoor Air Quality Contaminants

The health issues related to the poor indoor air quality are very similar to the ones observed in people suffering from asthma, allergies, or common cold. Your family members might wake up every morning with a sore throat or feeling groggy. Many people will also struggle with runny noses, itchy eyes and chronic headaches which become more prevalent at certain times of the year.

For families who live in humid climates, such as here in the Myrtle Beach area, mold spores can be a major problem. This living organism will often thrive in ducts, bathrooms, and kitchens. Volatile organic compounds are another major issue for many homeowners. These compounds can be found in a wide variety of everyday products and will increase the risk of respiratory issues ranging from asthma to certain forms of cancer. If you happen to schedule regular appointments with an exterminator you should ask them about what kinds of pesticides and chemicals they will be using.

Improving Your Indoor Air Quality

Your heating and cooling systems are your first line of defense against outdoor contaminants, which is why it is so important to invest in high-quality air filters as well as have your HVAC systems serviced at least twice a year. Homeowners should also take some time to research any new products they are bringing into their home. This is especially important for cleaning supplies which can release VOCs, formaldehyde and other unhealthy toxins into the air.

If you have any questions about the different ways to improve your indoor quality contact Brown & Reaves Services, Inc. via our convenient form or call us today at 843-497-9867.

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Air Pollution Can Make You Sick

Tiny specks of air pollution can cause big health problems. Air quality in the U.S. is gradually improving, but, according to the American Lung Association, “particles you breathe in can increase blood pressure, inflame arteries, and speed up heart rate.”

Air pollution can make you sick without you even realizing what's causing you to feel bad.

A 2012 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that breathing outdoors on one moderately polluted day led to a 30 percent spike in strokes 12 to 14 hours later. Other studies also show more ER and hospital admissions for heart attacks on polluted days.

Air pollution is especially problematic for children; people 65 and older; and people with asthma, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Outdoor Air Pollution

Medical researchers are highly concerned about ozone (a potentially hazardous gas) and fine-particle pollution—from car and truck exhaust, factories, power plants, and wildfires. Those particles, smaller in diameter than a human hair, can lodge deep in your lungs or enter your bloodstream. What to do:

  • Check your local pollution levels at If you’re at higher risk, try to stay in air-conditioned areas when the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index is 101 or higher.
  • During higher-pollution periods, exercise and work outdoors early in the morning, when pollution levels are usually lower.
  • High-traffic areas are more polluted; avoid them when on foot or bicycling.
  • Don’t burn trash or wood outside or leave your car idling. On high-pollution days, don’t run fuel-burning power equipment.
  • Don’t assume face masks are going to solve the problem. N-95 masks may provide some benefit, but most commercially available air masks are not designed to protect against all forms of air pollution, like smog.

Indoor Air Pollution

The major indoor pollutants include cigarette smoke, fireplace and wood-stove smoke, kitchen-range fumes, mold and mildew, air-freshener ingredients, animal dander, and dust. Those are especially worrisome for people with allergies or asthma. They can also irritate the eyes, nose, and throat or cause headaches in anyone. To breathe easier when indoor air pollution can be a factor:

  • Ban smoking in your home and car.
  • Vacuum to reduce dust and dander.
  • Run air conditioners or dehumidifiers to help thwart mold and mildew.
  • Use exhaust fans in your bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry area.
  • Use a vented range hood to extract smoke and kitchen odors.
  • Replace older wood stoves; newer models emit less smoke. A lower number on the EPA’s certification label means it burns more cleanly.
  • Burn only untreated, fully dried wood in your fireplace, and don’t light it around anyone with a heart or lung condition.
  • Nix air fresheners. They can contain volatile organic compounds and phthalates that can cause headaches and eye, nose, and throat irritation, and worsen asthma symptoms.

Brown & Reaves Services is trained and equipped to inspect your home’s ventilation and air intake sources. The best possible level of ventilation must be established for your home in order to optimize air quality and overcome indoor air pollution.

We’ll evaluate your home and make recommendations to modify your existing system, if necessary, to achieve optimal air flow. We’ll also check possible air pollutants within your home, such as your heating system or stoves, and make adjustment so they’re operating at a safe level. We can recommend and install an air filtration system in  your home to eliminate pollutants and allergens, making sure your Myrtle Beach indoor air quality is the best it can possibly be.

Call Brown & Reaves Services today for a thorough analysis of your home to determine if you are suffering from indoor air pollution problems you may not even be aware of.  843-497-9867.  Or fill out our short form and one of our trained technicians will get back to you shortly.

Indoor Humidity Levels and Humidifiers

Summer is quickly coming to an end and children are all back at school now. Many parents in Myrtle Beach may be wondering if they should invest in a humidifier to better control the indoor humidity levels. Low humidity can be really bad for your health by increasing your chances of getting colds, flu and other upper respiratory ailments.

Indoor Humidity Levels

The recommended indoor humidity levels vary depending on the time of the year. If the outdoor temperature is in the 70s the indoor humidity level should be between 40 and 60 percent. If the temperature outside is between 20 and 40 degrees the humidity inside should not be higher than 40 percent. Outdoor temperatures below 20 degrees require the humidity levels of no more than 15 percent. In general, the lower the outdoor temperature the lower the indoor humidity.

Indoor humidity levels affect your health and the overall condition of your homeAre Humidifiers Safe for Your House?

If you’re suffering from sinus congestion, sore throat or dry mouth you may find some relief with an indoor humidifier. How about your furniture, wooden floors and walls? Can using a humidifier cause damage to your home?

The answer lies in maintaining healthy indoor humidity levels. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor humidity levels between 30 and 60 percent will help control mold. Low humidity in your house may cause your hardwood floors to crack and your stereo may experience static electric charges.

If you’re interested in more advanced solutions to improve the air in your house, there are other options out there apart from a table-top humidifier. You can purchase a whole-home humidifier system which is installed in conjunction with your AC system. The advantage of such a robust system is that it monitors the indoor humidity levels and adjusts them accordingly.

If you have any questions about the humidity levels in your house as well as ways to control them, contact Brown & Reaves Services, Inc. at 843-497-9867 — or fill out our short inquiry form . We’ll get back to you usually within 24 hours.

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Air Pollution Within Your Home

Indoor air pollution is listed today as one of the worst toxic pollution problems we have to deal with. Why?

air pollution in your home is magnified with a dirty filter.Your heating and air conditioning system is on, usually more than nine months out of the year. Since it is on so much it is inevitable for your unit to become full of particles that have been lifted from both your home and the outside air. Your HVAC unit has many filtering devices that aid in making sure no harmful particles enter your home and your lungs. The only thing that homeowners fail to realize is the fact that after more than a month or so, those filters could be extremely clogged. Once your filter becomes clogged, the air passing through them could allow the harmful particles to latch onto the air and be circulated throughout your home. This is indoor air pollution in its purest form.

How to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

Reducing indoor air pollution is a relatively simple matter. It takes just a little bit of attention and effort to these tasks:

1) Get your HVAC system professionally inspected annually. A properly-maintained and working furnace or HVAC system will filter many contaminants out of the inside of your home or office. Furnace repair and maintenance professionals recommend that you have yours inspected once every 12 months. Inspection is relatively inexpensive and will ensure that you become aware of potential problems (some of which can be deadly) before they happen.

2) Change your furnace filter as frequently as is recommended by the manufacturer. Often this is every 2-3 months, but may be as frequently as monthly, depending on the make/model of your furnace or HVAC system. Filters are inexpensive, and you should be able to do this job yourself without calling in a professional. It’s the easiest way to cut down on indoor air pollution.

3) Consider using a HEPA filter. “HEPA” stands for “High-Efficiency Particulate Air.” This type of filter is designed to remove more contaminants than regular filters. In fact, they are able to remove 99.97% of particles that are larger than 0.3 micrometers, which goes a long way toward reducing your indoor air pollution.

4) Have your air ducts cleaned regularly. A majority of particles get blown through your air ducts and get caught in your filter. However, some, particularly bigger ones, may settle deep inside your ducts. The only way to remove these particles is by getting the ducts professionally cleaned. Professionals recommend having them cleaned once every 12 months.

5) Clean up after pets. Pet hair can be pesky to keep off your home’s surfaces. However, the longer it remains on surfaces, the more of it that gets into your air filtration system. Dust and vacuum regularly, and brush furniture too, if needed.

6) Don’t allow smoking indoors. It’s no secret that cigarette smoke is packed full of harmful pollutants. When you smoke inside, even if you confine smoking to a single room, it simply blows those contaminants throughout the whole house. All smoking should be limited to outdoors only to cut down on your indoor air pollution, far away from doors and windows (so pollutants aren’t blown back inside).

Call Brown and Reaves Services for an estimate on having air duct cleaning performed at your home or office to help cut down on your indoor air pollution. 843-497-9867. Pollen season is the time to make sure your ducts are as clean as they can be, and believe it our not, we’re just a matter of weeks away from seeing that yellow stuff everywhere. See our related article on Duct Cleaning Helping You Breathe Better.

Don’t forget to grab our 20% off coupon on your next service call by Liking us on Facebook.

Allergies? Why You Need Air Duct Cleaning

Two big reasons why you need air duct cleaning are, Asthma and Allergies.

Two big reasons why you need air duct cleaning are, Asthma and Allergies are two of the leading causes of hospital and doctor visits every year.Asthma and allergies are two of the leading causes of hospital and doctor visits every year. With pollen, pet dander and mold as triggers, it becomes exceptionally important for everyone to make sure the air they are breathing on a regular basis is as clean as it can be. Not only does keeping your air clean keep you healthier, but think of all the medical bills you will save, and the days off you won’t have to take from work. But how do you make sure the air in your home is actually clean?

One of the best ways to make your home or office a more healthful place to be is by making sure your air ducts are spotless. By hiring a duct cleaning professional, you can rest assured that your air will be as clean as it can be with minimal labor on your part. Air duct cleaning professionals open up your air ducts, wipe them clean and reattach them and often do so outside of the busy hours so you lose less time of productivity in the workplace or downtime at home. By sweeping out the mold, pet dander and dust, the duct is now free of clutter that can circulate into the rooms to trigger allergies or asthma attacks.

The Cost of Not Performing Air Duct Cleaning

Not only does air duct cleaning of your heating and cooling system regularly keep you healthier and require that you spend less time and money on medical bills, it also helps with the household expenses. Keeping your ducts free of debris keeps the airflow strong and steady, meaning you use much less air conditioning in the summer or heat in the winter. When you turn on the temperature control in your home and your air ducts are blocked or otherwise obstructed, often you will find yourself spending more energy attempting to get the temperature correct. By simply utilizing the services of a professional air duct cleaning company, you allow the air to flow much freer and can use much less energy to warm up or cool down your home or office.

Air duct cleaning has become one of the most popular and effective ways of keeping healthy and keeping your costs down if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Making sure you keep your environment clear of triggers will help you rest assured knowing this allergy season won’t be the one to send you back and forth to the doctor.

Call Brown and Reaves Services for an estimate on having air duct cleaning performed at your home or office. 843-497-9867. Pollen season is the time to make sure your ducts are as clean as they can be. See our related article on Duct Cleaning Helping You Breathe Better.

Don’t forget to grab our 20% off coupon on your next service call by Liking us on Facebook.

7 Tips to Prevent the Flu

The dreaded flu season is a record one this year, with outbreaks everywhere exceeding expectations. We’ve gathered a few tips to help you protect your family from the flu this winter:

wash hands thoroughly and often to help prevent the flu virus from spreadingWash your hands, surfaces and cleaning supplies.
Often. Just 15-20 seconds of hand washing with soap and warm water—or alcohol-based rub—can help protect you from germs. Since human influenza viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours, kitchen and bath fixtures should also be scrubbed down regularly. Sterilize your sponges in the dishwasher.

Take your vitamin C.
Good sources include citrus fruit, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, nuts and kiwi. Supplements can also help shorten the duration of the virus following its onset.

Drink plenty of fluids.
Proper hydration is essential to a strong immune system and overall health. Water and herbal or flavored teas are the best choice. Avoid alcohol, which may decrease your resistance to viruses.

Practice good health daily.
Exercise, manage stress, eat healthy food and get plenty of rest.

Cover your mouth and nose when you cough.
Be sure to use a tissue; touching your eyes, nose and mouth can help germs spread.

Don’t smoke.
Smoking cigarettes is a major risk factor for influenza, due to structural changes that can occur in the respiratory tract and a decreased immune response.

Clear the air.
Use an air cleaner or filtration system to capture bacteria and other small particles. A humidifier can also help your family breathe a little easier while reducing the incidence of sore throats and respiratory problems.

(Plus two bonus tips!)

Play “keep away.”
Avoid crowds wherever possible. Put about six feet of distance between yourself and others as much as possible to avoid contracting the virus. Similarly, if you happen to come down with the flu, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever breaks to avoid spreading the illness to others.

Last, but not least—get a flu shot! The vaccine, available by shot or nasal spray, is recommended for everyone six months of age or older. It protects against infection and illness caused by the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be the most common during the current season. While the vaccine can’t prevent the flu altogether, it helps lesson the severity of the illness in the event onset occurs.

Although Brown and Reaves Services, Inc., isn’t in the medical business, we can help you keep the air you breathe cleaner. Call us today for a free analysis of your duct system. Brown and Reaves Services, Inc., Serving the entire Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand area. 843-497-9867. Remember to grab our 20% off coupon on your next service call by Liking us on Facebook.

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