Breathe Easy: 5 HVAC Devices that Can Improve Indoor Air Quality
Think about the things you do every day, and how many of those things are actually risks to your health. Some are unavoidable because we just have to do them as functioning members of society. Some we choose to accept because not doing them goes against our freedom to live the lives we want. And some we might do something about if we knew the ugly truth. Indoor air quality falls into that category.
Studies have shown that indoor air can be more polluted than the air outside - up to 5 TIMES more, in fact - with up to 900 toxins that are known to cause allergies, cold and flu symptoms, and more. Considering that we spend about 90% of our time indoors whether, at home or work, the importance of making sure the air you breathe there is of the best quality possible should go without saying.
As professionals who work with indoor air environments for a living, we at Technical Hot & Cold know that improving its quality begins with your HVAC system. Let’s take a look at a couple of devices that can help get the ball rolling. We're proud to help both Homeowners and Businessowners create healthy indoor spaces for their families and teams!
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are known as the “gold standard” of air filtration. They work by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps 99.7% of harmful particles like pollen, pet dander, dust mites, viruses, mold, tobacco smoke, and even viral pathogens. Since they’re designed for applications like healthcare in which immediate and constant air purity is required, those who suffer from severe allergies and chronic respiratory illnesses like asthma and COPD can enjoy a better quality of life in their own homes with HEPA filtration.
Numerous scientific entities including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) conclude that Ultraviolet-C (UVC) radiation is an effective disinfectant - capable of killing or inactivating 99.9% of harmful microorganisms in the air and on non-porous surfaces. When applied to HVAC systems, they can promote safe and healthy indoor air quality by preventing bacteria, viruses, and mold from growing inside of the air handler and being distributed throughout your home.
Humidity is actually one of the biggest contributors to poor indoor air quality, particularly during the hot summer months. High levels of moisture in the air (about 60% or more) create a prime real estate for mold, mildew, and even bacteria and viruses to grow. This upsets allergy symptoms and can even lead to respiratory diseases and infections.
While your A/C system will dehumidify the air as it cools, it’s not always enough to keep your indoor air quality as clean and pure as possible. Instead, consider giving us at THC a call to install a dedicated dehumidifier in your home or business.
On the flip side, not enough moisture in the air creates an indoor environment that’s too dry which can also lead to respiratory issues as well as uncomfortable skin conditions. This usually happens during the cold winter months.
A whole-home humidifier maintains a healthy amount of moisture in the air usually through steam or water vapor. These aren’t like the kind that you can buy at the drugstore, however. Instead, they cover every room in the house or facility.
A tight building envelope is a great thing in most cases. It means that every nook and cranny is sealed up correctly and well-insulated, not letting any conditioned indoor air escape nor outside air enter. The catch is that sometimes, this doesn’t allow for adequate ventilation which restricts airflow and makes the house stuffy and thus difficult to breathe.
Using a ventilator in combination with your HVAC system removes stale indoor air and replacing it with fresh, cleaned air from the outside with each cycle.