Winterizing Your Home for Good Indoor Air QualityFamily Home Plans
(ARA) – As the weather begins to cool, we start preparing our homes for the winter season. Closing up the house and using your heater can really have an impact on indoor air quality. The best way to keep the air in your home clean throughout the cooler months is to get your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system cleaned.
“When people go to turn their heat on, the dust and debris that has been collecting in the coils either burns into fumes or gets distributed throughout the home,” says John Schulte, executive director of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). “The warm environment can also be a haven for mold and mildew, all of which can cause air quality to plummet.”
HVAC systems have been shown to act as a collection source for a variety of contaminants that have the potential to affect health, such as mold, fungi, bacteria and very small particles of dust. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. The removal of such contaminants from your HVAC system is crucial to improve indoor air quality. Plus, a clean system can save you money on your energy bill.
Further research from the EPA has demonstrated that HVAC system cleaning may allow systems to run more efficiently by removing debris from sensitive mechanical components. Clean, efficient systems are less likely to break down, have a longer life span, and generally operate more effectively than dirty systems.
“About half of the energy used in a building is on heating and cooling,” says Schulte. “Having your system cleaned can save up to 30 percent in energy costs. So not only are you improving indoor air quality, but you’re saving money and helping the environment.”
The top issues that effect a home’s HVAC system, its efficiency and air quality are:
1) Filtration Issues
Low-efficiency filters, lack of a filter replacement program, and improperly sized filters can allow particles and debris to flow into a home or building.
2) Duct Work Contamination
It is estimated that more than 90 percent of HVAC systems installed longer than 10 years will have some level of insulation deterioration. Over time, the insulation fibers are distributed and blown into occupied spaces every time the blower turns on.
3) Dirty Evaporator Coil
Over time, evaporator coils become matted with dust and dirt. During cold months, the heated air can flow over the dirty coils and be distributed into your home’s interior space.
The best way to determine if your HVAC system is clean is to perform a visual inspection. If any dust or debris can be seen, the system needs to be serviced. Some of the things that may lead a home owner to consider more frequent cleaning include:
* Smokers in the household.
* Pets that shed high amounts of hair and dander.
* Water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system.
* Residents with allergies or asthma.
* Home renovations or remodeling.
“The most effective way to clean air ducts and ventilation systems is to employ Source Removal methods of cleaning,” says Schutle. “This requires a contractor to place the system under negative pressure, through the use of a specialized, powerful vacuum.”
NADCA has published an internationally recognized standard that specifies requirements for proper cleaning. NADCA is a widely recognized nonprofit trade organization representing certified contractors worldwide that sets standards and provides certification and training for the industry. For more information about HVAC cleaning and to find a certified and knowledgeable contractor, visit www.NADCA.com.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
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