People commonly look for ways to improve the air quality in their homes. Popular knowledge tells us that when we improve air quality, we also improve our health and reduce chronic issues like asthma and allergies. The experts at HB McClure are committed to improving the air quality in your central Pennsylvania home.
Homeowners often seek ways to help their heating and cooling systems perform better as well. These systems are just like a car; the better we care for them, the better they will run. Improving performance efficiency can reduce operating and maintenance costs. The connection between improving HVAC performance and indoor air quality is highly correlated.
The Biggest Reason Your System Does Not Perform
For your HVAC system to work, it must be able to circulate air effectively. It must also be able to transfer heat into or out of the air as it circulates.
The biggest reason for performance degradation is restricted airflow. The restriction could be in the air return, preventing air from flowing into the system properly. It could also be a restriction in the system, preventing air from flowing through it. Restrictions can also form in the air ducts, which prevents air from leaving the system as designed.
Contaminants and dust in the air end up collecting on various parts of your system. From your filters to the heat exchanger and evaporator coils, it has the same effect on your entire system. You may notice these restrictions due to low airflow through the system or because the air is not coming out at the desired temperature. These restrictions will eventually cause bigger problems in your system if not addressed, leading to expensive repairs.
These are great reasons to pay attention to the indoor air quality of your home and work to improve it. Most of the following hacks are relatively simple and inexpensive to implement, but they can have a lasting impact on both your HVAC system and your overall health.
1. Manage Humidity
Humidity creates a big problem for indoor air quality and for HVAC system performance. When the humidity is too high, it encourages the development of mold and fungus throughout your home. Air ducts in your HVAC system are notorious breeding grounds for mold and mildew, which could also develop in any dark corner when the humidity is high.
When humidity is too low, dust and dirt particles dry up. This reduction in weight keeps particles in the air longer, meaning your filters have to work harder. This also means that more particles are going to eventually make their way into your system.
Keeping your humidity at the optimal 30%-50% range will reduce both of these issues. This range is not so humid as to encourage mold but still humid enough to pull some contaminants out of the air. For central Pennsylvania, that means using humidifiers during the drier months and a dehumidifier during the humid months.
2. Run the Roomba
Whether you use an autonomous cleaning bot like a Roomba or you are still using a push vacuum, consider running it more often. Floors collect a lot of dirt and other contaminants, even if they look relatively clean. You kick those contaminants back into the air as you move around your home. This eventually lands them right into your HVAC system.
The more regularly you run your vacuum, the more of these contaminants you actually remove from circulation. This means that there are fewer particles to clog your filter and even fewer will get into other parts of your heating and cooling system.
While thinking about cleaning, be sure to dust regularly as well. When dust collects, the regular air movement around your home will put some of these particles back into the air. It is best to get them out of circulation altogether.
3. Stop Dirt at the Door
Yes, we recommend taking your shoes off at the door. That is one of the best ways to keep excess contaminants out of your HVAC system and out of your home. We recommend a two-step doormat approach for the greatest effect.
The first step is a doormat right outside your home’s entryways. This will capture the bulk of debris and large-particle contaminants. The second step is another mat just inside the door to help capture additional particles still clinging to the bottom of your shoes. Many people like using a runner-type mat inside as a place to leave their shoes. These two doormats work together to capture the bulk of large-particle contaminants from your shoes and either keep them outside altogether or capture them just inside.
4. Keep an Eye on Your Filters
Filters are the easiest and least expensive maintenance item for your furnace. However, they are tucked away and easy to forget. When the filters get clogged, it strains the HVAC system and also encourages more contaminants to continue circulating. Air will always take the path of least resistance. If you have some holes in your HVAC system, the air will be encouraged to flow through those rather than through the filter itself.
Most recommendations say to check your filters at least every 90 days. That is great if you have long-life filters and exceptional air quality in your home. If you have a lot of dust, however, you should check your filters more frequently.
Plan on checking your filters every month to find any clogs in the system before they become major problems. Be sure to check other filters in your home as well. This includes bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans and vacuum filters. These will continue to circulate airborne contaminants if they get clogged.
5. Professionally Clean & Maintain Your System
Plan to have your system professionally cleaned and maintained at least annually. Most people find it helpful to have two maintenance visits per year; one in the spring to check the air conditioning system and the second in the fall to tune-up the furnace. During these visits, a technician will clean the heat exchanger, evaporator coils, and circulating fan.
You also want to be sure to have your ducts cleaned regularly. For homes with average air quality, you should plan to do this every three to five years. If you do some renovations or a home project that produces a lot of dust or fine particles, you should plan a duct cleaning as part of the project. These particles are not only hard on your HVAC system, but they can also cause a number of respiratory problems.
Central Pennsylvania’s Long-Trusted HVAC Experts
HB McClure has been serving Harrisburg and other communities throughout the rest of central Pennsylvania for over 100 years. Our team is trusted to provide only quality parts and exceptional service. Our technicians are experts in heating and cooling installation, repair, and maintenance as well as indoor air quality control. Not only that, but our team also provides expert plumbing and electrical services, including generators and water purification. Call the professionals at HB McClure to schedule your consultation today!