People are giving more of their attention to the issue of indoor air quality. The increase of various chronic conditions like asthma, allergies, and even COPD has brought this important issue into the spotlight. While people think of their health, they are still unaware of how indoor air quality affects their HVAC system. This lack of awareness often leads to avoidable repairs and a shortened service life.
How Indoor Air Quality Affects HVAC Systems
At a high level, your HVAC system in Denver works to do two things. First, it transfers heat into or out of your space. Second, it moves air around your house. That is as simple as it comes.
Poor air quality can inhibit both of these functions. When we talk about air quality, we are referring to the number and type of contaminants in the air. There is no such thing as pure air; there are always going to be some contaminants.
However, the more contaminants there are, the more it affects your system. First, contaminants will settle on sensitive components like the heat exchanger and evaporator coils. When this film forms, it inhibits the thermal transfer needed to either heat or cool your air properly.
Second, these contaminants restrict airflow through the system at a number of places. Either of these issues means that your system has to work harder to achieve your desired temperature. The harder the system has to work, the sooner it will require repairs or replacement. You can see why it makes sense to improve your air quality!
What You Can Do to Improve Your Air Quality
Improving your indoor air quality is actually quite simple with some easy changes and the help of the right technology. The following information covers some hacks that the air quality experts at Summit Heating & A/C recommend to make this improvement and help extend the life of your HVAC system.
Install an Air-Purification System
Standard HVAC filters are great for helping to reduce some of the contaminants that make their way into your system. However, they only filter so much, leaving a lot of additional air that needs filtering.
There are a number of variations of air filters and purifiers. These range in cost and complexity, not to mention effectiveness. You can look at individual room ion purifiers or whole-house systems that work in tandem with your existing HVAC system. It is best to work with an indoor air quality expert to determine the best option for your specific space and budget.
Check Your Filters Regularly
Whether you just have regular furnace filters or are using some form of whole-house filter as well, you need to check your filters regularly. You want to plan to replace your filters at least every 90 days. However, the quality of the air will determine if they need replacing more frequently.
Check your filters at least monthly when you first start working to improve your air quality. Remember, one of the biggest strains on an HVAC system is restricted airflow. Clogged filters are one of the primary and most easily fixed restrictions.
Be sure to check all the filters in your home, too. While they may not all tie into your HVAC system directly, clogged filters around your house will continue to circulate contaminants that will eventually make their way back into your system. Common filters people miss include those in bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans, portable air cleaners, and vacuum cleaners.
Reduce Chemical Contaminants
Most households have more than 100 different chemicals that they release into the air on nearly a daily basis. These chemicals come from air fresheners, cleaning products, aerosols of various kinds, scented candles, hand sanitizers, and even perfumes and body sprays.
These are actually a big concern for your HVAC system, even though you may not be applying them directly to any particular component. When used, these chemicals pass through the system and cling to other particles as they pass through the unit. The problem is the film they form on sensitive components.
This film acts like glue, grabbing more contaminant particles as they pass by. This is one way that heat exchangers are ruined before their typical service life should be over.
Consider reducing these chemicals throughout your home. Use natural plant-based cleaning products. Consider essential oils for your air freshener. Finally, use non-propellant types of sprays. This will help to extend the life of your HVAC system while helping to improve your health.
Create a Barrier for Dirt
You may not be able to create an airtight environment for your home. However, you can easily create a barrier of sorts for dirt. This is what we call the two-mat approach. Put one doormat outside your primary entryway. This will capture the bulk of dirt and contaminants from your shoes.
You will then set a second mat inside the door. Many people like to use a runner type of mat for this one. This helps to capture some of what may still be clinging to your shoes. It also gives you a place for shoes at the door so that you do not track whatever is left on them throughout the house.
Review Your Cleaning Routine
Consider how often you run the Roomba, dust, and change your bedding. One of the best ways to keep contaminants out of the HVAC system is to remove them from your home entirely. The more often you clean your space, the less there is to get into the air. Bedding is one common area that hides a lot of contaminants because it looks clean. Be sure not to let it go too long between washes.
Manage Proper Humidity Levels
Humidity is extremely important to your health as well as your indoor air quality. The ideal humidity is between 30% and 50%. Fortunately, Colorado does not have high humidity over the summer. Rather, we deal with more issues of keeping our homes humid enough, especially over the winter months. That is why having a whole-house humidifier can be helpful.
When the air is too dry, dust particles and other contaminants become lighter, which enables them to stay in the air longer. That means more of them find their way into your HVAC system. If your house is too humid, you encourage mold and fungus growth. You can see why keeping the right humidity is critical.
Professional Maintenance and Duct Cleaning
Have your HVAC system professionally maintained and cleaned regularly. We recommend a tune-up twice annually, including both your furnace and air conditioner. This will clean off those areas where chemicals, dust, and other contaminants collect.
You should also have your air ducts cleaned at least every three to five years. If you do a home project that produces a lot of fine particles, like mudding and sanding, you should include a duct cleaning as part of your tune-up.
Denver’s Dependable HVAC Specialists
Summit Heating & A/C has been proudly serving the greater Denver area for nearly 20 years. Our technicians are NATE certified, and we offer a 100% right or 100% free guarantee. That means you know we will listen to your needs, find the best solution, and get all components installed correctly the first time. Call us to schedule your free consultation today. We can help with heating and cooling repairs, installation, and maintenance.