When it comes to outdoor air quality in Phoenix, AZ, the studies and reports have not been favorable. This is an area that has seen a lot of development over the past decades, so that could be a contributing factor. Therefore, residents of this city must be more conscious of the air they are breathing while indoors. At Champion Air, indoor air quality is one of our specialties. To get you started on the right foot, here is some information about the relationship between indoor air quality and your home’s HVAC to consider.
What Is HVAC?
HVAC is the heating, cooling and ventilation system in your home. If your house is older, it probably has a central HVAC unit connected to the ductwork. The ducts are then connected to vents in some rooms. Newer homes are utilizing ductless HVAC options more frequently. This means that there is a unit installed in more than one room, and the unit delivers output directly to that space.
In either case, the HVAC units do not create new air or bring in air from the outside. They work with the air found in your home to heat or cool it as you desire, which begins the relationship between indoor air quality and your HVAC system.
What Is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality is the quality of the air you are breathing in while you are indoors. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the public spends 90% of their time indoors, which makes sense. You sleep inside your home anywhere between seven to eight hours. Plus, you spend about eight hours at work. The rest of the time, you spend getting ready, eating and doing chores.
As homes are becoming more energy-efficient, they are better insulated. Indoor air does not escape while outdoor air does not get inside. This is great for energy consumption and costs. However, air becomes stale. Once the air becomes stale, it becomes fertile ground for pollutants, allergens and VOCs. When this happens, you need to take into consideration the amount of pollutants that were in your home and the additional amount that you created.
Pollutants and other particles floating in your home’s indoor air have a negative impact on its quality. The concern for government public health agencies is the negative long-term effects.
What Is the Relationship Between the Two?
Your HVAC system does not create new air, but it does cool and heat the existing air in your home. If your indoor air is polluted, the HVAC system is going to push a good portion of the polluted air back into your home. An HVAC system that is maintained well captures a lot of the particles floating around in the air, but it does not capture all of them. So, it is vital to start with good quality indoor air.
How Is Indoor Air Negatively Impacted?
Several public health agencies advise the population to keep their home and car smoke-free. Smoking is a known contributor to VOCs. If you are breathing in the pollution from your habit, you are exposing and damaging your lungs.
Then, there are more innocent factors that contribute to indoor air pollution. Your pet drops dander as he trots around your home. The easy fix is to ensure you are brushing him on a consistent basis. Plus, you should take him to get groomed, too. This helps you trap the dander before it floats into the air and lands on your surfaces.
Cooking and cleaning also lower the quality of your home’s indoor air. You have to cook. Even if you reheat a meal that you purchased, the smoke created by cooking and heating a meal turns into a gas, which is a VOC. When these gasses are breathed in on a consistent basis, you are exposing yourself to the possibility of developing cancer.
Cleaning products have become more environmentally friendly for several reasons. As you clean, you breathe in the fumes created by the chemicals. If you only do this once a week, the effects are not as harmful. On a consistent basis, though, the fumes are hazardous.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
One way to immediately improve your home’s indoor air quality is to open a window. You need to be strategic about when you open the windows, but nonetheless, they must be opened at some point.
An important way to improve indoor air is to ensure there is proper ventilation. In other words, the air does not become stagnant or stale. Opening a window forces the indoor air to shift. Outdoor air comes in while the stale air gets pushed out. If you suffer from allergies, do not open the window when the pollen count is high or the pollen will be forced inside. But you do need to open it at some point. The evening, for example, is one option.
There are several HVAC add-ons to consider investing in and acquiring.
Solution: Ceiling Fan
The ceiling fan is a comparatively affordable ventilation product that is low maintenance. This fan does not produce new air. It does not heat or cool air, either. It does immensely help with ventilation, though. This is a product that does not consume a lot of energy. Plus, it is simple to install. Since it is a moderately priced product, you can invest in more than one.
The fan helps spread the cooled air your HVAC unit produces. So, it also helps make your HVAC system more efficient, too.
Solution: UV Lights
UV lights are an indoor air product at your disposal, too. The light is placed in the HVAC unit next to the condenser coil. Since the coil produces small amounts of moisture as the refrigerants run up and down, it is a prime area for mold and bacteria growth. If the mold and bacteria are allowed to thrive, your HVAC unit is essentially blowing air into your home that contains spores, which has a negative impact on your home’s indoor air quality. The UV light keeps the coils free of living bacteria. This leads to healthier air.
UV lights are best installed by professionals. It has to hit the coils at the right angle. Otherwise, it will not be effective.
Solution: Whole-Home Products
To keep the quality of your home’s indoor air healthy, you have to figure out its current level and how it is being impacted. At certain times of the year, the humidity level is higher. When there is more humidity, there is more moisture in the air. This is when mold and bacteria thrive. Whole-home products such as humidifiers and dehumidifiers keep the entire house balanced throughout the year.
This is another indoor air quality solution that requires the skills of experts like Champion Air.
To have your HVAC unit and home’s indoor air quality assessed, give Champion Air a call, and make an appointment in Phoenix. We offer comprehensive heating and cooling services, including installation, maintenance and repair.