Your HVAC system, properly maintained, is your main line of defense for ensuring good indoor air quality. Research has shown that the interior air of most homes is significantly more polluted than the outside air. Further, that air stays trapped inside modern homes with airtight construction. You need to make sure your system is working effectively to remove airborne particulates.
How Your HVAC System Cleans the Air
The HVAC system draws in return air for conditioning. On the way to being cooled or heated, the air goes through a filter. A cheap fiberglass filter will keep the larger dust particles out of the workings of the HVAC, but will do nothing to improve IAQ. For better air quality, you need a denser, pleated filter that will trap finer particles.
While many air filter manufacturers have their own rating system for filters, the government rates them on the MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value, scale. A filter rated from 8 to 12 on the MERV scale is generally considered best for most homes. Any lower, and it’s doing nothing for air quality; any higher, and your HVAC system may labor to draw air in, and that can cause it to cool inefficiently.
If someone in your home has health problems that necessitate installing a denser filter, such as a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air), then your HVAC system will need significant modifications to accommodate it.
Changing the filter regularly — more often if you have shedding pets and lots of traffic in your home — is key to ensuring your HVAC system does a good job of improving air quality.
A clean filter, as well as clean evaporator coils, can also assist your system as it removes moisture from the air. Dirty coils prevent your system from properly dehumidifying your home — which also affects your IAQ. High relative humidity in a home can contribute to the growth of mold, mildew and fungus. High relative humidity may also affect your home’s air filter, so that it can’t clean the air as effectively.
For more on indoor air quality, contact Aggressive Mechanical.