Heating and Cooling - Repair: Keep fresh air flowing during dry winter months

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(ARA) - Winter is the season for being cozy, while spending long days and nights inside the comfort of our tightly closed homes. It's also an infamous time for feeling dry and under-the-weather.

With people spending more time indoors, air circulation is compromised, and the level of contaminants increases. Fleeting freshness and moisture takes a toll on our skin, throats, noses and overall health, and can be especially harmful to those suffering from allergies and asthma.

Up to 72 trillion microscopic irritants, or allergens, find their way into your home every day. They include dust, pollen, pet hair and dander, dust mites, mildew, lint, fungus, most tobacco smoke, cooking grease and bacteria.
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Many of these particles are undetectable by your nose and throat, and can get deep into your lungs. This year, be proactive in creating a safer indoor environment for your family and guests by following these few quick fixes.

Filter your way to fresh comfort.
A whole-home air filtration system, like the AccuClean (TM) from American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning, can remove up to 99.98 percent of unwanted particles and allergens from a home's filtered air, a benefit that no standard 1-inch throwaway filter or ionic-type room appliance can match. These systems are designed to work as part of your heating and cooling system, meaning they're designed to clean the filtered air in every room of your home. Air filtration systems work behind the scenes to keep you breathing easier and feeling healthier year-round.

Routine maintenance to your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is equally - if not more - critical to keeping the indoor air quality of your home safe and systems operating at peak efficiency. Changing or cleaning your filters regularly will minimize the introduction of dust and other contaminants into your home. Check your owner's manual or contact an HVAC professional to determine the appropriate filter schedule for your system. In addition, an HVAC professional can perform a routine maintenance checkup to ensure all components of your HVAC system are operating properly, and advise you on ways to improve the safety and comfort of your home. To locate an independent HVAC dealer near you, visit www.americanstandardair.com.

Why so dry?
The chill of outside air has a relatively low dew point. When we bring that outside air inside and heat it, even more moisture is sucked from the air, making your body uncomfortably dry. The addition of a humidifier will restore and balance the moisture in your home's air, ensuring there's not too much moisture that can harbor bacteria and germs, not to mention damage to woodwork on window frames and doors.

Extra tips for a happier, healthier, warmer winter:
* Reverse the switch on your ceiling fans so they blow upward, toward the ceiling. By doing so, you will reduce cooling drafts and force naturally rising heat back down into the room.

* Add a touch of green. House plants are a small, but natural source of oxygen, and will liven up any room.

* On pleasant or mild winter days, hang bed sheets out on a clothesline to dry, for a crisp and fresh winter-wonderland smell that will have you falling fast to sleep at night. Or even open your windows for 15 minutes to break stale or musty air.

* Keep an odor-eliminating air freshener around the house to quickly spray on upholstery, clothes, blinds or carpet before guests arrive.

* Turn the heat down in your shower. Hot water may feel amazing on a cold winter morning, but it contributes to the dryness of your skin.

Now that you're ready to beat the bummer of cold weather, your family can enjoy spending time together. And before you know it, it will be time to pull shorts and swimsuits out of winter storage.

Submit a free request to receive more information from up to four pre-screened local HVAC contractors matched to your needs at www.respond.com .

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