While cool comfort in summer and cozy warmth in winter are important HVAC benefits, safeguarding your indoor air quality is also an all-season function. Keeping the home environment healthy is more important than ever as houses become more air-tight to conserve energy. This also means that indoor airborne pollutants and particulates may concentrate to levels than cause allergic symptoms or other health issues.
Here are a couple of ways your HVAC system is an important ally in maintaining optimum indoor air quality.
As long as your air conditioner or furnace are operating, the air you breathe inside your house is being filtered. The system blower continuously circulates air through the filter, removing particulates including dust, dirt, mold spores and other irritants. During a typical day, the total air volume contained inside the house passes through the filter multiple times.
This vital filtration function depends on proper filter maintenance:
- Change the air filter monthly during the summer cooling season and at least every other month during winter when the furnace is running.
- Purchase quality pleated cotton or polyester filters—not the “bargain” fiberglass types—with a MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of at least 8 to remove airborne particulates as small as 1 to 3 microns.
Because dry air cools more efficiently, your central air conditioner includes an important humidity reduction function. At the evaporator coil, water vapor is continuously condensed out of indoor air. Lower humidity makes the home more comfortable but also supports healthy IAQ. Certain air contaminants, particularly mold and bacteria, thrive in humid surroundings. Active mold responds to high humidity by releasing millions of microscopic airbone spores which may trigger allergic response or illness if inhaled. Other forms of fungus including mildew also affect humans and building materials in moist conditions.
Proper annual maintenance of your HVAC system by a qualified service technician ensures that all functions of your air conditioner meet manufacturer’s specs, including keeping indoor relative humidity below the EPA-recommended maximum of 50%.
For qualified professional maintenance to support healthy indoor air quality in the Coastal Bend, contact CCAC.