5 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality
As a homeowner, you want to live in the cleanest home environment possible to prevent health problems, reduce dusting and cleaning, and protect your HVAC system and other appliances. Fortunately, there are a variety of indoor air quality solutions available. You can find a standalone or whole-house filtration or purification system that works regardless of your heating and cooling equipment. Below we look at five ways to improve indoor air quality. If you have any further questions about how to make your home interior a healthier place, contact Cardinal Plumbing, Heating, and Air.
1. Purchase a Whole-House Air PurifierA whole-house air purifier is a device that works in conjunction with your residential HVAC system. It traps harmful substances such as dust, pollen, and other harmful contaminants to clear the air and improve indoor air quality. The difference between a whole house and a stand-alone air purifier is that an HVAC technician installs the air purifier directly into the HVAC system. An air purifier can be a filter or a UV light (read more below). The purifier adds a layer of filtration to prevent contaminants the size of a micron from circulating through the house. As a result, every room in the house has cleaner air. There are several benefits of a whole-house air purifier.
- Purifiers remove up to 99.9% of air contaminants that circulate through the house.
- Your home smells better due to lower chemical, VOC, and pollutant circulation.
- There is less dust buildup in every room, resulting in less cleaning.
- Your HVAC system performs more efficiently and requires less maintenance.
2. Install a UV Air PurifierA UV air purifier is one of the most practical, effective, and low-cost clean air solutions. A UV air purifier uses short-wave ultraviolet light (UV-C light) to kill airborne pathogens and microns like mold, bacteria, and viruses. An HVAC technician can install a UV purifier as a standalone unit into the HVAC system. Some HVAC systems feature a built-in UV air purifier. A UV purifier offers many of the same benefits as a filtered purifier – specifically cleaner, healthier air. The main difference is that the UV unit doesn’t filter the air. Its primary purpose is to purify the air. So, you get a cleaner room with lower rates of bacteria, viruses, and pollutants. However, there is no filtering process. So, the UV air purifier must partner with a filtration system to clean the air and trap harmful contaminants. One standout benefit of a UV model is that it requires little to no maintenance. You may need to pull the unit out and clean it one to two times per year. The bulbs will also need replacement. However, maintenance is easy and low-cost.
3. Humidity ControlThere are two main types of humidity control.
HumidifierA humidifier releases water vapor or steam to increase moisture levels in the air (humidity). Types of humidifiers include: There are two main types of humidifiers: stand-alone (or single room) and central humidifiers. A humidifier does not filter or purify the air. However, it does improve air quality by increasing moisture in areas of your home that are too dry. It can be especially helpful during winter when dry air is common in the home.
DehumidifierA dehumidifier removes moisture from the air. It minimizes the growth of mold and dust mites. They are particularly useful in parts of the house where humidity is high, such as damp basements. Dehumidifiers draw air over cold coils, condensing their moisture before passing it over warm coils and back into the room. A dehumidifier also does not clean the air. Its primary function is to maintain the humidity levels within your space by removing excess moisture. However, a dehumidifier can indirectly clean the air by preventing mold, bacteria, and other particulates from growing, all of which otherwise lead to various health issues.
4. High-Efficiency HVAC FiltersA high-efficiency HVAC filter traps up to 100 percent of particles smaller than 0.3 microns. It screens out bacteria, fumes, pollen, VOCs, and viruses. To understand what we mean by high efficiency, you need to understand the MERV rating. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, or MERVs, report a filter’s ability to capture larger particles between 0.3 and 10 microns. The scale ranges from 1 (lowest efficiency) to 16 (highest efficiency). A high-efficiency HVAC filter has a MERV rating of 13 or higher. Note: It is important to remember that a high-efficiency residential HVAC filter is not necessarily the same as a HEPA filter. What is the difference? HEPA filters have the highest level of filtration and are often used for commercial or industrial applications. A standard high-efficiency filter is used for residential applications or small businesses that utilize the same type of HVAC system as a home.
5. Supplemental Indoor Air Quality SolutionsIn addition to investing in indoor air quality equipment, there are some things you can do around the house to make it a cleaner and healthier place to live. Here is a quick list of practical, clean-air solutions.
- Replace outdated attic or wall insulation.
- Seal the windows and doors in your house to reduce drafts.
- Dust and vacuum your home regularly.
- Replace VOCs and harmful chemicals with organic cleaning solutions.
- Take your shoes off at the door.
- Change appliance filters regularly.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home.