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Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Summer is almost over and kids are going back to school. But what does that have to do with your home’s air quality? Before we begin I want to let you know that this article is going to pertain to Northern Colorado Homes, and homes that use a furnace that is located in the basement or crawlspace.

Rex’s Plumbing & Heating
Rex’s Plumbing & Heating August 1st, 2022

If you have an HVAC system that is located in the attic or is considered a heat pump this article may still apply however parts locations and orientation will differ. Consult a specialized Heating and/or A/C Specialist with any questions you may have. Now that summer is almost gone and winter is coming, you might find yourself inside more and unlike the air outside it is easier to control the air quality in your home. Indoor Air Quality or IAQ is normally overlooked by the average homeowner.

Your home can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Most combat these viruses and bacteria with harmful chemicals, and those chemicals only kill what is on surfaces. Also you can’t forget about the dust particles that are floating around your home unseen.

With all these microorganisms and debris floating around how do you combat something you cannot see or touch? There are actually many ways to fight off these microorganisms and debris. There are air purifiers that you can purchase that will help drastically in a single room. Adding plants can help freshen the place up but they will do little to clean the air. There are essential oils that help make the home smell better but I won’t get into whether or not they clean the air.

So what is the best way to keep your indoor air clean? The answer is there is not. There is not one best way to do the work that all these things can do together. But there are also other things you can do to help if the air in your home is not as clean as you like.

Change your Air Filter
The first thing I recommend is changing the filter that is near your furnace. Most online blogs call this the A/C Filter but they should really call it the Furnace or HVAC Filter. This Filter is normally located below or beside your furnace and has two major functions that coincide with each other. One is to filter dust and debris out of the air and the second is to make sure that your furnace and evaporator coil (Normally located above the furnace) don’t get covered in that dust and debris.

When the Evap coil gets coated with dust and other debris the cooling efficiency is lessened and it will tend to start forming ice which will cause less air flow. Changing your air filter is an important part of keeping your HVAC system working properly. Below is a picture of a filter that was not changed in over a year. It was sucked into the blower because the Evap coil started freezing which caused the filter to soak up the excess water that was dripping off of the coil inside of the furnace. You can also see that it was starting to grow mold because it was wet for so long.

Install a Whole House Air Purifier
Air Purifiers are great no doubt about that but did you know that they make them for your whole home? Whole home air purifiers may not be new to the market but have come a long way in the past few years. Older models used to release ozone to clean the air. Today there are companies that have improved the air quality game. They are easier to install and do a better job cleaning the air without releasing harmful chemicals.

Our favorite brand is the Reme – Halo. It looks like a typical UV light but it is so much more. It creates low level, airborne hydrogen peroxide throughout the air-conditioned space reducing airborne and surface bacteria, viruses, odors, and mold. The best part is that it comes into contact with all the air throughout your home and provides every room with fresh air as long as you have a duct supply in the room. The best part is that it’s the same price as a portable air purifier that you can buy online. However, you may want to hire a professional to install it as it does take some duct modification and electrical wiring to install. The good news is that you will have clean air being circulated throughout your home whenever your house fan is on.

Clean Out Duct Work
Duct cleaning may not always be needed if you change your filter and have a whole house air purifier installed. But if you have been neglecting your HVAC system a good duct cleaning might be just what you need. Just because you can’t see a problem doesn’t mean it’s affecting your indoor air quality. You ductwork like to hold hidden problems all the time. Rust can form from water leaking onto it. Mold and other microorganisms love to grow in the dark damp area that the duct work creates. Now you might be thinking that because the duct work has air moving through it, that would make it the worst spot to grow mold and other microorganisms. Unfortunately that is not the case.

If you are neglecting your HVAC system that is what turns this into the best environment to grow different microbes. There is no better method then having a professional come and clean out your duct work. Once they have cleaned it out I highly recommend installing an air purifier and changing your filter at least once a month to reduce the need to have them cleaned. There may be circumstances where this may not help and you will need a scheduled cleaning regularly. Consult with a trusted HVAC specialist in your area if you have any questions.