There’s not much you can do about the quality of the air outside of the home. You can do your part to conserve resources, but at the end of the day, particulate and allergens in the air can still cause a reaction if you have allergies or asthma, or if you encounter a virus. Luckily, there may be something you can do about your indoor air quality, which could be worse than you think.
Many of us assume that when we come home to an air conditioned or heated home, the air quality is better. After all, your central air systems use a filter. However, buildings can have air quality up to 5 times worse than the quality of the air outside. Your air conditioning and heating systems sometimes recycle the same contaminants over and over, but there are steps you can take.
Change the Air Filter
The easiest way to keep your air clean and clear is to change the air filter each month. If you use your air conditioning and heating systems sparingly, you should still change the filter every 3 months. If not, it can cause a number of problems for your air conditioner and heater, and reduces the ability of the filter to get particulate out of the air when it’s already dirty.
Get Smart about Cleaning the House
We don’t mean to nag, but routine cleaning truly does have benefits for your air conditioning and heating systems. And even when you mean well, you may not clean the house in a way that’s most effective for improving your air quality.
Some good advice:
- Purchase a vacuum with a HEPA filter to prevent allergens in the carpet from flying back into the air as you vacuum.
- Set a schedule for weekly vacuuming and mopping and stick to it!
- Keep a doormat at the front door, or ask people to remove shoes upon entering.
- No smoking indoors!
Consider a Home Air Purifier
The best thing you can do for your air quality is to have a professional technician install a whole-house air purifier. Portable air cleaners may help to reduce allergens and irritants to an extent, but they can’t stop dust from recirculating throughout your home over and over again.
Whole-house air purifiers are installed in the ductwork. They use a combination of filtration media and ionization to keep particles from recirculating in the air you breathe.
Clean the Ducts
Despite your air filter, dust can collect within the ductwork through the vents over time. This is not a job for homeowners to do on their own. Your HVAC system is made up of an intricate ductwork system that is delicate. Attempting to clean it on your own may only kick up dust and allow it to continue circulating.
Professionals have high-tech duct cleaning equipment on hand. It’s a process that will take several hours, but in the end, you should notice a reduction of dust in your home along with much better air quality.Should You Repair or Replace Your Heating System? » « 3 HVAC Problems That Can Wreak Havoc on Energy Efficiency