Using the HVAC System to Keep Indoor Air Quality High
While some may be of the impression that HVAC systems in a home or building are only present to regulate temperature, they actually carry out additional functions as well. One of the most important such functions, and one that’s carried out in coordination with temperature control and others, is maintenance of healthy air quality within the entire structure.
At My Buddy the Plumber, we’re happy to offer a number of HVAC services that keep your home comfortable and healthy, including themes like home humidifiers and others that have a direct impact on air quality. Whether on your own or with the help of our HVAC technicians, here are some basic tips we can offer on how to properly maintain and leverage your HVAC system to keep your home’s air quality high and healthy at all times.
Filter Change or Cleaning
The single most important theme for a homeowner to keep in mind when it comes to indoor air quality is to change or clean your HVAC filter(s) on a regular basis. This step is so important that it’s often the first one mentioned in articles about improving air quality in your home.
Around once a month, or perhaps with varying frequency depending on the type of filter you have in your system, it’s a good idea to check and/or change the filters. If they’re dirty, replace them; if they’re not, check them for rips or tears and clean off any debris stuck on them.
Dirty filters will not only block the function of your HVAC system, but they’ll also transfer dirt and other impurities into your indoor air. This not only lessens the quality of that air, but it can easily exacerbate allergies or conditions like asthma.
Maintain Good Ventilation
Fresh air is the enemy of various indoor contaminants and pollutants, which is why it’s important to have good ventilation in your home. While this may require the installation or use of an intake vent in addition to your HVAC system, the result will be cleaner air throughout your entire house.
It may also be a good idea to install a fan inside your heating and cooling unit when you are not using it. This allows the unit to continue pulling fresh air through your house, even when it’s turned off.
Eliminate Sources of Moisture
One potential area of risk in terms of indoor air quality is the presence of mold spores, mold and bacteria in excess moisture. This includes issues like condensation, leaks and flooding; all of these problems should be addressed immediately when they are discovered to lessen their impact on air quality.
Beyond this, it’s also a good idea to seal tile grout and repair and leaks that may be present in your home’s roofing and gutters. A little prevention can go a long way when it comes to preventing large problems from occurring in the first place.
If you do happen to encounter any buildups of mold, cleaning them with a basic solution of home products, including chlorine bleach (10%) and water (90%), can be a good idea. The solution should then be left to dry completely before allowing people or animals back into the house.
Look Into Foul Odors
If a persistent odor of some kind has begun to impact one or more rooms in your home, do not simply hope it will go away on its own. A professional HVAC service provider should be able to check the system for any leaks, while also determining if mice or other pests might be taking up residence in your ductwork or vents.
When it comes to odors originating within the house itself (i.e., beyond issues with your HVAC system), seek out the root cause. A persistent smell of some kind is almost always an indication that something in or around your house is amiss, and air quality could be impacted as a result.
Keep Chemicals and Solvents Sealed
Any chemicals, solvents or other combustible materials that emit strong odors should always be stored in their original containers and kept in a cool, dry place. Do not mix them with other substances or take any action that may lead to dangerous fumes or even an explosion.
They should also never be used around the HVAC vents themselves, as this could contaminate your indoor air. Instead, always provide adequate ventilation for any activity that produces fumes or odors of this kind.
Consider Additional Home Products
In some cases, especially for those who deal with respiratory symptoms like allergies or asthma that are worsened by poor air quality, the use or installation of certain home products can go a long way toward improving the situation. Some options here include:
- Air purifiers: Air purifiers, which use a fan to push air through a filter system and trap airborne particles, can help remove contaminants from the air. There are a few different types of air purifiers available, from those that simply remove dust and pollen to those designed to eliminate odors as well.
- Ozone generators: Ozone generators also use fans and filters, but instead produce ozone molecules that attach themselves to other contaminants in the air and render them harmless.
- Home humidifiers: Installing a home humidifier that increases the amount of moisture in the air can dilute contaminants and reduce their impact.
- Aerators: Aerators are installed in some water sources to reduce the concentration of impurities.
For more on how to leverage your home’s HVAC system for the best possible indoor air quality, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the pros at My Buddy the Plumber today.
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