Indoor air quality is a big deal these days, especially with recent events shaking up the global economy. But many people wish they had better air quality all the time, not just during times of global health concerns. Poor air quality can irritate sinuses, eyes, skin, and trigger allergies and other issues that may not be life-threatening, but they can certainly ruin your quality of life. Is your HVAC system doing its part to lighten the load of potential airborne threats?
The good news is that you don’t always need expensive air filters or to wear masks around your house. There are some simple tips that can help you keep the air in your home cleaner. Here are six of the most common and easiest tips to implement so you can enjoy better air quality indoors.
1. Preventative Maintenance
If your HVAC system isn’t running properly, the air quality in your home will suffer. You need to make sure that your system is doing its part. A faulty system won’t filter out enough impurities, will circulate poor quality air, and lines can leak, causing additional problems. Most people use their HVAC systems year-round: AC in the summer, heating in the winter, and air circulating at all times. This is a pretty heavy workload for any system! Consider the stress put on the HVAC components from nearly constant uptime.
Here are some of the components that most directly impact your indoor air quality.
For those who enjoy the benefits of an HVAC system, keeping filters clean is paramount. Air filters are paramount to air quality. More than anything else, filter conditions are directly proportionate to the level of air quality you experience. If your filters are beat up, they’re not filtering out impurities properly and every breath you take suffers because of it.
Air filters are typically very cheap and last for some time, but you’ll want to make sure you regularly replace them. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions in replacing them, or, if you’re part of a regular maintenance schedule (such as one of our valued Secure Comfort Club members), you’ll regularly have your filters replaced at no extra cost.
The state of your duct work has a big impact on your air quality. Compromised structural integrity can be a big problem, allowing in unpleasant odors, outside pollutants, and moisture that further hinder your HVAC system’s operations. Keeping ducts clean and structurally sound is an important part of HVAC maintenance, and your lungs will thank you for it.
If your home feels too cold or too warm frequently, it’s possible that the HVAC system is either heating or cooling the air excessively. While being uncomfortable for most people, this can also cause skin irritability and other related issues, as well as putting undue stress on the components of your house. Proper maintenance on heating elements and cooling systems, as well as the surrounding duct and line work will prevent this issue from ruining your day.
2. UVC Lights
UVC (ultraviolet C) lights can actually kill viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microbes. Upton reminds you that this isn’t a perfect defense against the spread of illness, but our UVC light installations will help sterilize your ducts. The UVC light kills viruses, including the Coronavirus, influenza, and other germs as they pass through, before ever entering your home. Even lower-power UVC settings sterilize most viruses and bacteria, rendering them inert.
Properly installed and maintained UVC systems added to your HVAC system will drastically reduce the amount of pathogens that enter your home. Our experts will analyze your HVAC system to determine the best placement and volume of UVC lighting equipment needed. Factors include the length of your air ducts (the longer, the better, as we can expose germs to more UV light), speed of air flow (which we can adjust), and power requirements.
3. Electrostatic Air Filters
Electrostatic air filters are another option for your air filtration needs. These are reusable air filters, and are typically rated to filter out the smaller impurities that regular air filters don’t pick up. These filters are washable, and if you clean them about once a month, they’re meant to last for a long time. Unlike normal air filters, EAC filters work by passing particles through multiple layers, imbuing them with a charge, and then much like touching a metal surface after walking across the carpet in your socks, “zaps” the particles to the other layers of the filter. Static cling in this case works to trap impurities in the air.
You may want to consider EAC filters as a supplement during times of illness scares. The filters excel in trapping smaller particles such as microbes, while quality regular air filters are better at picking up the larger particles. Since EAC filters are built to theoretically last indefinitely, you may want to keep some handy for the times when germs are more of a worry than dust and pollen.
Upton’s experts can help you determine the type and quantity of filters that are right for your indoor air quality.
4. Secure Comfort Club
If you would like to take the hassle out of the whole ordeal, Upton’s Secure Comfort Club offers seasonal maintenance and regular tune-ups as part of its benefits. Let us take make sure that your HVAC system is running as smoothly as possible so that you’re not faced with a breakdown at the worst time. The last thing you want is for your central air to be going out just as the pollen hits in Springtime!
5. Clean House
One of the best things that you can do is simply to keep your house clean. Dust, dirt, animal dander, hair, and irritants like pollen and sawdust can all hide in clutter. Mold also tends to grow in places that are less than hygienic and often obscured by clutter, and grow to irritate your poor nose as well as potentially inflict damage upon the house itself.
Keeping the house tidy is a great way to fight these problems. Make sure that you don’t let piles of clothing or objects make a mess. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll enjoy cleaner air in no time:
- Pick up piles of objects, clothing, toys, etc., because allergens and irritants (and pests!) love to hide in clutter
- Make sure to vacuum regularly, which benefits from picking up the piles that tend to accumulate in houses so that you can more properly vacuum the carpets
- Doing laundry frequently is a no-brainer, but make sure that you are regularly washing peripheral stuff that tends to accumulate allergens, like bedding, curtains, area rugs, etc.
6. Go Green
Plants are often said to help promote air quality because they create oxygen. This is true, and adding some house plants can be a good way to make your home look and feel more welcoming. It’ll also breathe more easily with these natural air quality-control elements helping you out.
7. Air Purifiers
Humidifiers and air purifiers are a good way to help people with chronic sinus problems and allergen-related issues. Harvard Health (yes, that Harvard) suggests using ionic purifiers in particular, which are good for helping to filter out some of the irritants that like to irritate your poor nose and lungs. Purifiers won’t completely cleanse the air, but they can help reduce the irritation caused in some of the most trafficked rooms in your home.
Fresh Air is the Best Air
Open your windows! It may seem counterproductive for an HVAC company to be telling you to let Mother Nature do what she does best, but we here at Upton know that no mechanical system can completely replace the freshening quality of fresh air itself. Open up your windows to get a proper flow of air through the house. Well-ventilated homes are going to have better air quality.
To help promote the ventilation, use fans, especially in kitchen windows or in rooms where you’re currently vacuuming or cleaning to help keep the air as clear of pollutants as possible.
In certain locations, such as cities with extremely low air quality due to pollutants, so you’ll want to aim for times where there is less traffic. It’s especially important In these locations to have good screens on the windows, clean air filters, and a well-maintained HVAC system.
A trickle ventilator may also be a good option for your situation. These are essentially filters that can be placed alone or installed into windows and filter out impurities on the air coming into your home.
Stay Clean and Green!
Keep your house clean of clutter, well-ventilated, and regularly check for mold, along with proper maintenance on your HVAC system and you’ll be enjoying better indoor air quality no matter the season!