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Improve Indoor Air Quality with Your AC

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality with Your Air Conditioner

The quality of indoor air is a rising and prevalent concern, given that people spend the majority of their time indoors. Prolonged exposure to poor-quality indoor air can lead to several health problems, including heart diseases, respiratory disorders, asthma, and cognitive issues. Indoor air quality (IAQ) has grown to be a significant public health issue. 

Only by improving the quality of indoor air can these issues be averted. A tested way to enhance indoor air quality is by effectively using an air conditioner. Let’s explore the common air pollutants and how your AC unit can help reduce their effects. 

Understanding Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Most indoor air pollutants include dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores. They can also be compounded by cleaning products, paints, and furnishings. Smoke from cooking also contributes to indoor air quality. Smoke from cigarettes is a significant cause of poor IAQ for smokers. Due to its weather, dampness is the most common indoor air pollutant in Canada, along with VOC (volatile organic compounds) and carbon dioxide (CO2). 

Indoor air pollutants are the biggest threat to the inner machinery of any cooling system. Dampness, carbon dioxide (CO2), and volatile organic compounds can also cause allergies and rhinitis. An adult breathes 12,000 liters of air daily while youngsters breathe 24,000 liters, so good indoor air quality is essential!

Choosing the Right Air Filter

The quality of your air conditioner filters plays a significant role in determining how well your central heating and air conditioning unit cleans the air. According to the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) scale, filters are rated from 1 to 16. The MERV scale measures the percentage of particles between 0.3 and 10 microns that a filter catches. 

The filter’s ability to capture tiny particles improves with increasing MERV number. Particles in the 0.3 and 1 microns range are measured using the Microparticle Performance Rating (MPR). MPR ratings vary from 0 to 2200, with higher values corresponding to superior small particle filtration. Pollen and mold spore particles typically have a size of 10 to 30 microns. While tobacco smoke particles are about 0.5 microns in size, bacteria particles are two to three microns in size. It is, therefore, essential to consider these factors and adhere to MERV guidelines while choosing the filters for your air conditioning unit.

Regular HVAC Maintenance

Marinating your HVAC systems is the key to an air conditioner’s proper operation. For optimal operation, air filters must be changed on a regular basis. Checking them once a quarter is a really good step to keep your air conditioner working the best possible way. A few signs suggest it might be time to change your HVAC filter. These are as follows.

  • A significant sign is higher energy costs since your system has to work harder to force air through a blocked filter. 
  • Another obvious indicator that your home needs a filter change is decreased airflow from the vents. 
  • You might also notice increased dust accumulation on vents and other interior surfaces. 
  • Lastly, symptoms like stuffiness, allergies, or sickness in your household may indicate that changing your filter is time. 

If you observe any of these problems, it is a good idea to check your filter and consider getting a new one. When replacing disposable pleated filters, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Vacuum or wash the reusable, washable filters gently. Reinstall them only once they have completely dried.

Air conditioners can thus help maintain IAQ. It’s a good practice to air out enclosed places regularly, as this helps refresh indoor air quality and lower pollution concentrations. A professional can service your heating, cooling, and ventilation systems regularly. Clean the air vents regularly to ensure smooth airflow and maintain a good cooling capacity. Verify again that there are no obstructions at the air intakes or exits. 

To maintain the health of the air conditioner, avoid smoking indoors. Aim to spot any symptoms of moisture to stop mold growth, and make sure you let the air out after a bath or shower. By taking these steps, you can create a healthier indoor environment, reduce the risk of health problems, and enjoy cleaner, fresher air in your home.

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