We spend a lot of time in our homes, often unaware of the hidden risks caused by poor indoor air quality. As a result, health problems can occur or be made worse by the condition of your indoor air. In this article, Cote’s Mechanical will take a closer look at indoor air quality and how you can take action to get the air quality your home deserves.
Indoor Air Quality
The indoor air quality of your home can seriously affect your health. Pollutants in your home can come from a variety of sources. Some common sources of pollutants include:
- Tobacco products
- Fuel-burning appliances
- Furnishings and building materials
- Cleaning chemicals
- Humidification devices
- Cooling systems
- Central heating
When it comes to your home’s air quality, it pays to be proactive. Don’t wait for conditions to worsen before taking action.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the most effective ways to improve the quality of your indoor air are clean outdoor air ventilation and reducing or removing the pollutant. In addition, by using air cleaners, you can improve your air quality. While an air purifier cannot get all the pollutants out of your home, it is a great tool to have regardless.
When it comes to air purifiers, you have many options available. However, the ones that emit ozone can be detrimental to your health and should be avoided.
Regardless of the purification system you use, it needs to be maintained to work properly.
Below, we will discuss some of the most common types of air filters and their characteristics.
Ultraviolet Air Purification Systems
Ultraviolet or UV air purification systems use UV light to filter air. The UV light “catches” particles and moves them through a filter. UV air purifiers can release ozone which can be hazardous to your health. The EPA advises against buying purification systems that release ozone. According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, there’s a chance ozone can react with chemicals causing dangerous by-products.
Ultraviolet or UV air purification systems are available as a standalone unit or integrated into your home’s HVAC system.
HEPA Air Purifiers
HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) purifiers use a fan to move particles through a filter. The particles are caught by fibers.
HEPA is a standard of performance. However, there is no certification process for consumer purifiers, so purifiers who use the HEPA name may not actually adhere to it. It is important to do your research when shopping for a purifier.
Some of the things a HEPA filter can catch include:
However, HEPA filters cannot capture gasses.
Activated Carbon Air Purifiers
Certain smells make a home feel like home, such as things that smell like freshly baked bread or that familiar smell of old wooden furniture. However, there are other smells that you might want to remove altogether, for example, the smell of spoiled milk spills or burnt cooking. An activated carbon air purifier is an excellent choice when dealing with odor.
These purifiers work by way of a carbon media that helps catch pollutants. They work by utilizing a process known as “absorption”.
Ionic Air Purifiers
Ionic air purifiers clean the air with electricity. Another name for ionic air purifiers is an electronic air purifier.
Like UV air purifiers, ionic air purifiers emit ozone, which is hazardous to your health. The EPA does not recommend using purifiers that produce ozone.
Ionic air purifiers are broken up into two categories.
- Air ionizers – Air ionizers are referred to as “negative ion generators.” In place of a filter, they use a negative charge in an attempt to have particles attach to surfaces. Through this method, it is possible that the particles could attach themselves to your lungs.
- Electrostatic precipitators – Electrostatic precipitators utilize both positive and negative changed plates. The plates “catch” particles. These plates will require cleaning periodically.
How Does an Air Purification System Work With an HVAC System?
While air cleaners are often small, portable units, some air purification systems work within an HVAC system. These systems can have the added benefit of working throughout large portions of a home.
Like portable units, there are multiple HVAC air purification systems available. They work while the HVAC system is running.
Central Air Cleaners
Central air cleaners, also known as HVAC air cleaners, are made to work throughout a home. They are commonly installed in ductwork. This is different from many purifiers that only work in the area they are placed in.
A drawback to central air cleaners is that they only work when the system is functioning. Depending on the temperature, you might not be running your heating or cooling system frequently, which means the central air cleaner might not run often.
Air to Air Exchangers
An air to air exchanger is one of the more elaborate ways to purify the air in your home. It works alongside your HVAC system and takes in fresh outside air and removes stale indoor air. Like other systems, this one requires upkeep. It has filters that will need to be cleaned, and they are often installed in new homes.
Indoor Air Quality Services
Indoor air quality is an important part of your home. That is why it is important to get a professional involved. Since 2001, Cote’s Mechanical has proudly served Denton, Texas, and surrounding areas with residential and commercial HVAC services. In addition, we offer 24/7 emergency services. From air duct cleaning to purifier installation, we can help you improve your home’s air quality.
Take action towards cleaner air, and contact us to schedule an indoor air quality test.