We like to think the air we breathe outside our homes is worse for our health than the air we breathe indoors. Pollution from cars, industrial facilities, pollen, mold and such is far from healthy. However, thinking that the air quality in your home is superior is a mistake.
It’s quite common for homeowners to blame coughs, sneezes, headaches, tiredness, eye, nose and throat irritation or dryness on just about everything but what the culprit usually is—their HVAC system. In fact, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has reported that indoor air can be at minimum 2 to 5 times more polluted than outside air quality. Also, the EPA has ranked indoor air pollutants among the top 5 environmental risks to public health. Here are two more important health statistics:
- The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that 50% of all illnesses are caused or aggravated by poor indoor air quality.
- The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine states asthma cases can be reduced by 55% to 60% by controlling contaminants such as dust mites.
Considering we spend the majority of our lives indoors, it’s time to make the connection between your air conditioner and indoor air quality. And, more importantly, what can be done to improve your home’s air quality.
(Spoiler alert: it’s as easy as regular AC maintenance and changing your air filter. You can schedule an appointment for annual AC service now or keep reading if you need more convincing.)
What Your HVAC System has to do with Indoor Air Quality
Your HVAC system keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The way that it keeps a comfortable indoor air temperature also affects your indoor air quality. Your HVAC system pulls in outside air and runs the air you breathe through the filter. The outside air contains contaminants, which remain inside your home if your air conditioner isn’t serviced regularly and working properly.
Routine HVAC maintenance helps avoid pollutants getting trapped inside the equipment and ductwork. Regular AC maintenance also catches any moisture problems early on before they turn into mold and mildew that can begin spreading bacteria and viruses.
Especially in Kansas City summers, healthy indoor air quality involves humidity control. Accumulating water in lines is a breeding ground for mold, mildew and bacteria, which collects inside your equipment and eventually lands in your ducts to be blown throughout your home. Part of AC maintenance is checking that condensate lines and drain lines aren’t clogged with sediment so water can drain properly, and air stays cleaner.
Changing the Air Filter and Cleaning Coils are a Big Deal
Homeowners tend to forget to change their air conditioning filter. Yet, it’s the easiest thing you can do to improve indoor air quality, especially if you use a HEPA filter. Filters capture contaminants and stop the vast majority of them from being blown throughout your home. Also, filters help catch dust and grime so that they don’t clog your HVAC system. If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies, it’s worth using filters designed to cut down on allergens.
The evaporator coil absorbs heat and humidity from the air space, and it’s part of the indoor air handling unit. The condenser coil discharges the heat outside. This coil is usually located on your outdoor unit, thus can accumulate dirt and debris. A dirty coil traps heat and doesn’t allow it to be released outside. When your system can’t absorb and/or discharge heat, it can’t cool your home. You’ll notice your indoors feels muggier. Since your AC can’t operate reliably without its coils, cleaning the coils is a necessary part of ongoing maintenance.
If Your AC Affects Your Indoor Air Quality, Your AC Needs Routine Maintenance to Help Keep You Healthy
Regular AC maintenance helps improve indoor air quality and can help your HVAC system prevent contaminants from circulating throughout your home. Consistent service means consistent quality air. During regular maintenance, our skilled technicians change your filter, clean coils and check lines for blockages to improve air quality, and complete a checklist to ensure your AC is functioning its best so you can “breathe easy” and avoid expensive emergency repairs down the road.