Americans are spending an average of 90% of their time indoors! Therefore, indoor air pollution poses a major health risk. This is especially true for young children, older adults and people who have heart or lung diseases and spend even more time indoors. Fortunately, HVAC technology offers ways to improve indoor air quality and prevent air pollution.
What are some causes of indoor air pollution?
Dust and other fine particles from vehicle exhaust, boilers, construction, etc., can get indoors through windows, doors and other openings. They can also get drawn indoors through a building’s HVAC system. In addition, mold, pet hair, dander and dust mites can build up over time and contribute to indoor air pollution.
Air quality issues can develop if proper ventilation is lacking. Improper ventilation allows for the buildup of hazardous pollutants. Cigarette smoke, synthetic building materials, carpeting and furniture, personal care products, pesticides, cleaning solvents, air fresheners and dry-cleaned clothing, can all contain pollutants.
Then there are pathogens — viruses and bacteria that can linger and spread contagious illnesses. These pathogens can even be distributed throughout a building by the HVAC system or be recirculated through ductwork.
Additionally, some of the newer building features such as airtight construction and improved insulation can increase all of this indoor air pollution because it limits the flow of fresh air into the building.
Here are seven ways that HVAC technology can improve your home’s air quality.
1. Use UVC technology
UVC is the most damaging type of solar radiation, but it is completely filtered out by the atmosphere and does not reach the earth’s surface. UVC-emitting lights are useful for air purification because it can kill virtually any microbe. Today, UVC is used in many healthcare facilities as part of air disinfection systems. It’s also used in other buildings where air quality and preventing the spread of illness is a concern, such as schools, offices, senior living facilities and large residential buildings.
2. Incorporate good ventilation design
A properly designed ventilation system reduces indoor air pollution by providing fresh air, controlling odors and eliminating contaminants.
3. Use VRF for humidity (and temperature) control
As part of your indoor air quality testing, you can use a humidity gauge to see if the humidity in your building is at a healthy level — between 30% and 50%. To maintain a good, consistent humidity level and temperature, consider a zoned HVAC technology called Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF).
4. Explore the HEPA filter option
While standard air conditioner and furnace filters do not remove pathogens like UVC does, these everyday filters still play an important role. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are designed to reduce indoor air pollution by trapping 99.97% of dust, pollen and smoke particles.
5. Clean the ductwork to reduce indoor air pollution
Whatever fine debris is floating in your building’s air can accumulate in the ductwork, thus impacting air quality. The particles in your ductwork can end up back in the air you breathe. Clean your ductwork to help prevent
6. Bring in a professional for mold remediation
By the time you learn you have mold in your air ducts, then the problem could already be widespread. Unchecked, mold is more than an air quality issue, it is a health issue. If your ductwork has been invaded by mold, it is crucial to call an HVAC professional for remediation ASAP. An HVAC professional will determine where and how the mold problem started, and help you resolve the underlying issue so that mold does not recur.
7. Stay on top of air quality with routine HVAC maintenance
Since the air that you breathe indoors is circulated by your HVAC system, it’s important to schedule regular inspections. Investing in routine HVAC maintenance, along with duct inspection and cleaning, helps you detect, prevent and eliminate sources of indoor air pollution. This ensures that your HVAC system is performing properly.
For peace of mind and control of indoor air pollution, ask the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical, about their Whole House Maintenance Agreement!