Fact: concentrations of some airborne pollutants can be two to five times higher indoors than out. Considering that we spend about 90% of our modern lives inside our homes and other buildings, we may be breathing unhealthy air much of the time, which is a scary thought.
Luckily, there are many air filtering and purification solutions available today that can help us breathe better—some of which you may already have in place in your home and can easily optimize with help from your favorite local residential HVAC professionals.
The challenge, though, is determining which air cleaning options will work best for you and your family, and which ones may ultimately be money wasters. Today’s post provides some insight into ways you can improve indoor air quality (IAQ) at home, which may be as simple as changing out the filter in your existing heating and air conditioning system.
Clean the Air with the HVAC System You Already Have
While considered to be a passive air cleaning system because it only works while your forced air HVAC equipment is actively running, the filter that’s already built into your return air ductwork nonetheless provides efficient whole-house air filtration.
You’ll need to be sure to choose an air cleaning filter—and change it out as often as once per month—to achieve the best results.
Standard fiberglass filters are designed primarily to keep debris out of your furnace and/or central air conditioning system’s mechanicals and not actually to improve indoor air quality. This means you need to be sure to purchase pleated filters (which cost a few dollars more, but are still very affordable) to get air cleaning benefits.
Don’t forget about ventilation
Did you know that the “V” in “HVAC” stands for ventilation? And assuring that the air inside your home is regularly exchanged with outdoor air is also vital for healthy IAQ.
The EPA suggests that removing sources of indoor air pollution (fixing basement water leaks to prevent mold growth, going outside to smoke if that’s a personal habit of yours, etc.), keeping to a regular cleaning schedule, and properly ventilating your home can go a long way toward drastically improving your indoor air.
That’s not to say that you should leave your home’s windows wide open all the time—that will let things like pollen and outdoor pollution in and can ultimately overtax your home comfort equipment—but incorporating fan systems in places like kitchens and bathrooms can be extremely beneficial.
Add Next Level Whole-House Air Purification to Ductwork
For individuals with health concerns that involve the respiratory system, such as asthma, or those with bad environmental allergies, passive filtration and ventilation tactics may not be sufficient. Luckily, there are several options for air purification that can be installed into ductwork to remove the smallest particles of dust, dirt, and other irritants—even harmful bacteria and odors.
Whole-house air purification typically involves adding the capability to your HVAC system to accept extended media filters, which look like your standard furnace filters, but are much thicker—around 8 inches.
There is also technology available today that involves electronic filtration incorporating electrical currents that literally grab particles like a magnet. These systems may also make use of the bacteria and virus-killing capabilities of UV light.
Consider Supplemental Standalone Air Purifiers
If your home does not have a forced air heating and air conditioning system, you still have options for air purification with standalone units. You may also be interested in these types of purifiers if you want to focus purification in one area of your home and supplement the passive air filtration of your current HVAC equipment.
Free-standing Whole-House Units
These types of systems require installation of air intakes and exhaust via ductwork. The equipment is large, and needs to be set up in extra closets or your attic and then ducted to individual rooms. As you can imagine, for those homeowners who do not currently have ductwork, the construction project to add it just for air purification purposes (without heat or air conditioning capabilities) is often a turn-off. We encourage you to talk with a professional HVAC installer and carefully weigh this option to make sure it’s right for you.
Portable Air Purifiers
These can be a great “always-on” supplement to your forced air HVAC system’s cycling air purification capabilities. You may choose to add a portable unit or two in strategic locations throughout your home—such as in a bedroom of a particularly sensitive family member or in an area where pets spend time. If you don’t have ductwork today, these units can present an affordable solution to better IAQ when properly sized and placed. You’ll also have to remember to change out filters regularly.
While you don’t need professional HVAC contractors like us here at Garden Spot Mechanical to install portable units for you, we’re happy to consult on placement, sizing, and overall quality of products you may be considering. There are literally thousands of portable air purifiers on the market today with varying capabilities, and the purchase process can be difficult, resulting in wasted money.
Have Indoor Air Quality Concerns? Garden Spot Mechanical Can Help!
Because outdoor air quality in our home service area here in Lancaster and Lebanon County, PA is sometimes unhealthy, we realize our customers want to make sure their homes offer a healthful haven for their family members. And that means keeping pollen, dust, dirt, and other pollutants from circulating in the air inside your house. If you’re worried that your indoor air quality isn’t the best, the home comfort pros here at Garden Spot Mechanical have solutions.
Give us a call today to discuss your options for cleaner and purer indoor air!