While we know about the various types of pollution that we encounter outdoors each day, there is the potential for being exposed to even more pollutants inside your home. The Environmental Protection Agency concludes that some pollutants may actually be two to five times higher indoors. This includes things like dust mites, mold, pet dander, smoke, and other particulates.
With the development of HVAC technology in recent years, it has become much more possible to improve the quality of your indoor air to protect your health and the health of those around you. Let’s consider some of the ways to reduce indoor air pollution using HVAC technology.
Air Purification Devices That Utilize UV-C Technology
UV-C radiation is the highest energy on the UV radiation spectrum. It can’t reach us from the sun because it is blocked by the atmospheric ozone layer, but there are artificial sources that can produce it. Many purification devices utilize UV-C lights in order to effectively destroy a variety of contaminants such as microbes and pathogens. When combined with proper ventilation and particle filtration, UV-C is a very effective method of protecting your indoor air.
UV-C filtration can be installed directly onto your HVAC system, treating air before it passes back into your ductwork and home. It prevents mold from forming on areas of your HVAC equipment, such as your drain pan and evaporator coils.
The process of ionization can destroy particles that are passing not only through the air in your HVAC system but also the air that is in the various rooms of your home. There are a couple of different ionization processes, including bipolar and plasma ionization. They can both remove toxins, pollution, bacteria, mold, odors, and VOCs from your indoor air. This process works by charging the particles that are in a room of your home. They will then be attracted back to the unit so they can be effectively removed from the air that you’re breathing.
Advantages of Better Filtration
The filters that are on your HVAC unit aren’t capable of removing pathogens from your indoor air, but they’re actually really effective at reducing pollution, dust, and debris. If you’re interested in upgrading your current filter variety, a HEPA filter can trap up to 99.97% of dust, pollen, and smoke particulates. They are recognized by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration as being an effective method of reducing indoor air pollution. HEPA filters are sometimes used along with other methods of air purification to increase the effectiveness of the entire system.
Filters are usually rated using the minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV scale. A higher number reflects a filter’s better ability to block particles. Traditional filters are usually rated anywhere from six to eight. HEPA filters generally carry a rating of about MERV 17 to 20. Just keep in mind that a high MERV rating can sometimes put too much strain on your HVAC system. Make sure that you check with a professional to ensure your equipment can handle an upgraded filter.
Routine HVAC Maintenance and Repairs
The HVAC system in your home has the responsibility of circulating and conditioning the air that you breathe. It’s important that you’re scheduling regular appointments with an experienced HVAC professional to have appropriate maintenance, inspections, and repairs performed. A tune-up now and again makes a big difference in the overall efficiency of your HVAC equipment, which can, in turn, affect your ability to reduce indoor air pollution. A professional can also help you detect any sources of indoor air pollution that you might not be familiar with.
Pollution can cause an unhealthy buildup inside of your ductwork. This negatively affects your indoor air quality as time goes on. You can schedule a routine cleaning of your ductwork every year or every few years. This will address things like pollen, mold, dander, dust, and debris before they result in health issues for you and everyone else living in your home. It’s imperative to have an experienced professional care for your ducts. They can ensure the process is completed properly while also confirming the efficiency and effectiveness of your HVAC system as a whole.
To reduce the risk of indoor air pollution, confirm with your HVAC professional that they won’t be using any unhealthy chemicals in the process of cleaning your vents. A reputable company will use all-natural products to complete this process. There is also the potential to simply use the vacuum effect of sucking out all the dirt and debris from your vents without having to use anything other than physical equipment.
Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
HVAC systems can be equipped with humidifiers as well as dehumidifiers, bringing the relative humidity of the interior of your home back to a healthy level. High humidity actually increases the concentration of certain pollution. By making the air moist, this can also promote mold growth. Low humidity can also be a problem because it allows viruses to thrive. You can utilize both of these systems in your home, determining which is beneficial based on the season and the current humidity level indoors.
A humidity gauge is a simple way of figuring out how much humidity is inside various rooms. It can be moved wherever you want a check to occur, and it only takes a few minutes to register an accurate reading. You want to keep moisture between 40% and 50% to reduce potential indoor pollution. These units can actually save you money in the long run. Increasing the humidity of your home will make it feel warmer. This allows you to turn down the thermostat in the winter. If you’re removing moisture because of high humidity, things may feel cooler in the summer. You don’t have to overwork your air conditioning or heating equipment in this scenario.
Removal of Mold
An indoor air quality assessment can determine if you have mold spores in the air you’re breathing. If you do, this is something that needs to be addressed immediately. If you already have mold in your ducts, this means it’s potentially everywhere. Mold exposure can cause illness, headaches, nausea, asthma, sinus irritation, and eye issues. An HVAC professional can safely remove the mold, preventing it from spreading during the process. They can also help you figure out where the mold came from in the first place so you can prevent future issues. Mold can be a result of a malfunctioning humidifier or furnace, which is why it’s important to schedule routine inspections for your HVAC equipment. A professional can catch these issues early on before mold becomes a health hazard in your home.
HVAC technology provides a number of methods of reducing air pollution in the home. If you’re located anywhere in the Orange County, CA area and you’re interested in improving your indoor air quality, our experts at White Mechanical, Inc. can inspect your premises, consult with you, and offer solutions. We can can also take care of all your other residential and commercial heating and cooling needs, including the repair, maintenance, and installation of your heating and cooling equipment. If you have any concerns about your home’s personal comfort or the quality of the air you breathe there, contact us at White Mechanical, Inc. to schedule an appointment.