Tips to Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
All of us enjoy breathing clean, fresh air. For those who suffer allergies and other respiratory problems, clean air is more than a luxury—it’s a necessity. Fortunately, today’s homeowners can choose from a wide range of options to improve interior air quality, helping family members breathe easier and feel more comfortable. In this article, we examine various air filtration options, including duct cleaning and furnace filters. Read on to learn how to improve the air quality in your home. Get more details about our indoor air quality services.
Standard Furnace Filters: Are They Enough?
The majority of standard furnace filters available today are not designed to clean indoor air. In truth, their main function is to prevent larger particles, such as pet hair and dust bunnies, from damaging the furnace blower motor. These larger particles are rarely the root cause of breathing difficulty.
However, you should still change your furnace filter every other month or so. Otherwise, your furnace blower motor could become clogged, reducing airflow through your supply ducts, and dragging down heating and cooling efficiency. The worst-case scenario is that a clogged filter will make your furnace fan motor work harder, wasting energy and driving up your heating and cooling costs. Find out more about indoor air filtration options.
Can Electrostatic Home Filters Do a Better Job?
Electrostatic filters have plastic or metal strips that generate static electricity when air is pulled through them. These filters can do a much better job, but we find that they also require monthly cleaning, using either compressed air or pressurized water. Furthermore, due to their density, these filters can be very difficult to clean thoroughly. Again, if not properly maintained, clogged electrostatic filters can cause the blower motor to work harder.
What About Portable or Professionally Installed Electronic Air Cleaners?
These filter systems can do a great job, but they can only address a room or specific zone of the home. We also find them to be high-maintenance.
There is also a health concern for these filters—their tendency to produce ozone. Even in very small quantities, ozone can be harmful to lung tissue; research has found a connection between long-term ozone exposure and respiratory disease. Even though electronic air cleaner manufacturers claims that ozone levels are too low enough to cause harm, there is belief that any amount of ozone is dangerous, and that the only good ozone is at least 5 miles up in the sky. Find out more about ventilation and air cleaners here.
Central Heating Filtration Options
Since 1961, AAA Heating and Cooling has specialized in indoor air quality. In all that time of addressing the unique concerns of each home and family, we have learned that the best filtration systems are professionally installed in the central heating system. This placement allows for whole-home filtration, meaning that air quality will be improved in the whole house, not just a single room or area.
Modern central media cleaners are capable of achieving 95% efficiency, removing particles as small as 5 microns in diameter, or even smaller. (For comparison, the average human hair is 100 microns thick.) Media air cleaners with UV and catalyst components deliver incredible particulate efficiency, and can also address the presence of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), such as odors or gases in the air.
In addition to filtration systems, you can improve air quality with duct cleaning. As we’ll see, duct cleaning can also improve heating and cooling system performance, and reduce the need for HVAC repair.
Improving Indoor Air Quality with Portland Duct Cleaning
Extracting dust from your ductwork via duct cleaning is very beneficial to the air quality in one’s home. Consider this: there’s five times more dust inside the average home than in exterior air. Moreover, interior dust creates the ideal environment for mites and bacteria to develop.
If your ducts are dirty, every time your furnace runs, it blasts tiny particles of pollen, dust, dander, and other contaminants into your home’s air. Turning on the furnace also draws these contaminants into your ductwork, adding a new layer of lung irritants to duct walls. These contaminants foment the growth of fungus, bacteria, and mold. Just think—your family breathes air containing whatever contaminants line your duct walls.
These microscopic fiends are harmful for families’ health, especially if there are little children in the home. Total Health and Better Health Magazines have found that one out of six cases of allergies is caused by fungi and bacteria in air duct systems. Similarly, the American College of Allergists has stated that half of all illnesses are aggregated by or caused by polluted indoor air. Here are a few indications that it’s time to schedule duct cleaning:
- If you suffer allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems.
- If you experience frequent headaches, nasal congestion, or itchy eyes.
- If there is a smoker living in the home.
- If you keep dogs, cats or other pets.
- If you notice a musty or stale odor when the furnace runs.
- If you notice dust on your furniture shortly after cleaning.
- If your furnace uses a standard throw away filter.
The above clues indicate that a good duct cleaning is in order.
Like furnaces, AC units tend to trap dust. When the hot weather hits and the family fires up the AC, the trapped dust is blasted into the home’s air, triggering various allergic reactions. For this reason, it’s wise to arrange duct-cleaning services for HVAC systems like heaters, air conditioners and dehumidifiers. The air channels of these machines can be properly cleaned with specialized air washing wands and air whip brushes. Learn more about the duct cleaning services AAA offers here.
Heating and Cooling Maintenance
Duct cleaning not only reduces the incidence of dust allergies, but also prolongs the life of your system by keeping it clean. Air conditioners and furnaces will work more effectively if they are regularly cleaned. Bonus: your electricity bill will go down by reducing the burden on your AC’s compressor.
This is also true for heaters and dehumidifiers; if they’re cleaned utilizing NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaning Association)-approved duct cleaning techniques, their air passages won’t be clogged, and they won’t require as much maintenance. Like human lungs, HVAC systems enjoy a longer functioning life if they’re properly cleaned, and if the air passages are not clogged with dirt and dust.
Cleaning out your HVAC system brings peace of mind; it’s easy to relax, knowing you won’t have to worry about your HVAC system malfunctioning or replacing any parts. For the durability of AC and heating systems, duct cleaning service is a good idea. Get your systems cleaned every season so that you can ensure a safe and healthy life for your HVAC equipment, and cleaner interior air for your family.
Air Quality Indoors
As responsible members of society, each of us is obligated to look after our environment—both inside and outside of our homes. Pollution has become a worldwide issue, and air-borne pollutants can cause serious health issues. While we tend to associate pollution with the outdoors, the truth is our interior air can be extremely polluted. Some interior air pollutants are 70 times more hazardous that pollution found in outdoor air. According to the American Lung Association, most people spend 60-90% of their lives indoors. If every family took steps to improve interior air quality, our communities would be healthier overall. We must pay attention to filtration and duct cleaning if we want a cleaner, pollution-free interior atmosphere.
Want more resources? Check out our air quality resource page here.