When most people think about breathing in harmful pollutants, they think about sitting in traffic or going to a city with industrial activity. However, studies by the Environmental Protection Agency have found that levels of pollutants can be two to five times worse inside than outside. How does your HVAC system play a role in keeping your air clean and healthy to breathe in?
Filters Remove Debris and Allergens
Filters are one of the key parts of your HVAC system, as they prevent dust, pollen, hair, debris, and other allergens from being distributed throughout your home. This is not the same as running an air purifier, but it can reduce the levels of pollutants and allergens in the air. Many homeowners with poor indoor air quality do not change their HVAC filters often enough. If you do not have allergies or pets, you can change yours once a quarter.
However, there are some situations where changing your filter once a month or every other month is more appropriate, including if you:
- Suffer from indoor allergies
- Have pets
- Have asthma or another respiratory condition
- Use lower-cost filters that do not last as long
- Have young children
- Run your HVAC system most of the day
Clean filters are not a quick fix solution to every indoor air quality problem, but they can help.
Regulate the Humidity
One of the many functions of your HVAC system is regulating the humidity levels in your house. As your air conditioner works, the humidity level should be significantly lower than it is outside or without the system running. If your air conditioner is in need of repair, you might experience high humidity levels. This is not a good thing, as too much moisture promotes mold growth, which is one of the most concerning indoor air quality contaminants.
Purify the Air
While air conditioners themselves are not designed to purify the air, an HVAC technician can help you to choose and install many different types of purification and filtration devices. There are many different options to remove allergens or kill germs, some of which are standalone and some of which can be installed in your HVAC system or ductwork.
Circulate Clean Air
Another way that your HVAC system can negatively impact your indoor air quality is by circulating air through dirty ducts. When was the last time that you had your ductwork cleaned? Some homeowners invest a great deal in cleaning their filters and other parts of the HVAC system but have the clean air running through ductwork that is filled with allergens, mold, dead skin cells, and dust. Every homeowner should have their ducts professionally cleaned annually, or more often if you notice odors or increased dust.
What Are the Signs You Have Poor Indoor Air Quality?
Working with an HVAC technician is one way to determine whether or not you’re breathing in dirty air, but there are some other signs that you can watch for if you aren’t sure if you should make the call. Some of the signs of poor indoor air quality include:
- Feeling persistently congested inside the house
- Feeling fatigued more easily (this is a sign of potential carbon monoxide exposure or a gas leak, so you should take immediate action)
- Getting sick frequently or feeling under the weather for weeks or months at a time
- Regular headaches or migraines
- Allergy symptoms that appear out-of-season or that don’t seem to go away
- Itchy or burning feelings in your nose, throat, mouth, or eyes
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Asthma symptoms
- Dry skin
When in doubt, contact Hoot and we can take a look at your HVAC system and determine how to leverage your air conditioner, heater, filters, and filtration technology to cut down on contaminants and help you breathe easier again.