Dust, dander, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other substances are constantly circulated in the air by your HVAC system. When the air in your home has too many impurities, it exacerbates respiratory conditions, irritates allergies, and increases the chances of catching colds and other viruses. Luckily, there are many ways to keep the air in your HVAC system clean to help combat colds and allergies.
Replace Your Air Filters Regularly
When your air filters are clogged with dust, pollen, dander, and other debris, their ability to effectively filter out pathogens, allergens, and particulates drop significantly. Therefore, in order to ensure that your air filters are always working as effectively as possible, you should change out all air filters in your HVAC system once every three months.
Choosing the Right Air Filters
To get the best possible filtration for your HVAC system, choose high-efficiency particulate air filters, also known as HEPA filters or minimum-efficiency reporting value filters, also known as MERV filters.
Regular air filters will trap dust, pollen, and dander floating through the air, but they’re not very effective for capturing anything smaller than that. HEPA filters are designed with a unique and tightly woven mesh that captures 99.99% of all airborne particulates and pathogens, including bacteria, mold spores, and even tobacco smoke. The downside to HEPA filters is that the extremely small holes make it difficult for air to move through them efficiently. Systems with HEPA filters require more energy to force enough air through the filters to ensure the heating and cooling work effectively.
MERV filters don’t require extra energy like HEPA filters do, and they provide roughly the same level of filtration in an HVAC unit as long as the rating is high enough. MERV filters with a rating of 13 or higher nearly match HEPA filters for effectiveness by trapping 99.7% of all airborne particulates and microorganisms.
Regularly Clean Air Ducts and Vents
Dust, pollen, bacteria, allergens, and other particulates build up in the air ducts and vents as air circulates through the system. So even if the air is filtered correctly, it’s still common for these pathogens and debris to wind up back in the air when they’re swept up in dirty ducts and vents.
Air ducts need to be thoroughly cleaned once every three years to keep them free from particulates and microorganisms as much as possible. Professional cleaning services are required to clean most parts of your air ducts since you only have direct access to small portions of the ducts. Trying to disassemble and clean them yourself can be dangerous or cause damage to your ductwork. Vents should be wiped off or vacuumed about once a month.
Maintain Healthy Humidity Levels
High humidity creates a breeding ground for mold, dust mites, and bacteria, which increases the odds of getting airborne viruses and aggravating allergies. Conversely, when humidity is too low, mold, dust, pollen, insect carcasses, and insect fecal matter within air ducts dry up, break into fine dust, and enter the air. Low humidity also causes mucus membranes to dry up and respiratory systems to struggle, making it more difficult for your body to fight illnesses.
It’s important to maintain a humidity level of 40% to 50% within your home. This level creates the best moisture balance in the air and helps cut down on allergens and pathogens.
Have an Air Purification System Installed
While having a high-quality air filter in your HVAC system is a great step in defending your home against airborne pathogens, allergens, and other particulates, a dedicated air purification system is the absolute best line of defense for your home. Air purifiers deep clean and sanitize the air in a manner that air filters can’t achieve by utilizing UV light or ionizers to kill the microorganisms in the air instead of simply trapping them.
Our skilled technicians at Wingate Heating, Cooling & Plumbing provide many HVAC services to help cut down on viruses and allergens in your home such as duct cleaning and installation services for air purifiers. We also offer repairs and installation for heating and air conditioning units, HVAC system inspections, and a full range of plumbing systems. If you’d like to learn more about the services we offer in the Cincinnati area, contact Wingate Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today.