Your heating and cooling system is an imperative part of your home. While it is responsible for keeping your family comfortable during the various seasons, this system is also important for maintaining a healthy environment. Considering that allergies affect an estimated 50 million Americans, you or another member of your household may suffer from the discomfort of allergies.
Itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, and even irritated skin are all common symptoms of allergies related to dust, dander, mold, and mildew. While managing these symptoms is possible with medications, improving your air quality is a smarter and healthier alternative. This guide and your HVAC contractor can help you improve your home’s indoor air quality.
As conditioned air moves from the outdoor unit through your ductwork and into your home, dirt, dust, and other debris will also move through your home. Thankfully, filters are capable of trapping this debris, preventing it from flowing into your home.
Replacing these filters regularly is key to reducing allergy symptoms and improving your overall quality of air inside your home. Unfortunately, many homeowners are confused by when they should replace their filters.
Dirt and dust are usually easy to see, but mold growth is not always visible. Therefore, you should replace your filters once a month whether they appear dirty or not.
The type of filter you choose also matters. Focus on the filter’s MERV rating. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is for trapping allergens. For the best protection, choose a filter with a MERV rating of between 11 and 13.
As stated earlier, conditioned air and debris move through the system’s ductwork before entering the home. Over time, debris and allergens will build up in the ductwork, clogging filters and decreasing your indoor air quality.
It is also important to note that damage can occur to your ductwork over time. Tears and holes are common as your ductwork ages. Seams can also become loose, causing air loss that decreases the efficiency of your system while allowing more dirt, dust, dander, moisture, and mold to seep into your ducts.
To improve air quality and system efficiency, consider having the ducts inspected for signs of distress. If necessary, repairs or a duct replacement can be made.
Bigger is not always better. Units that are oversized for your home and climate can actually do more harm than good. While surprising to learn, an oversized unit can cause your system to short-cycle, which can increase the humidity to dangerous levels.
To understand short-cycling, you need to understand how the cooling process works.
Your air conditioning system cools the home by removing heat from the air. During this cooling process, humidity is also pulled from the air.
Oversized units will reach your desired temperature faster, stopping the cooling process before the system has the time to pull an adequate amount of humidity from the air. This is known as short-cycling.
High levels of humidity can lead to a variety of problems, including warped wood floors and furniture and peeling paint. High humidity can also increase the risk of mold growth, which can be dangerous for everyone, especially individuals who suffer from allergies or respiratory problems.
If you have allergy symptoms, consider having your humidity levels checked. Healthy humidity levels range between 30 and 50 percent.
Using your home’s square footage, the floor plan/layout, and information regarding your local climate, contractors will conduct a load calculation to determine what size unit is appropriate.
Heating and cooling is an essential part of your home’s indoor air quality. To learn tips and solutions to improve your air quality and reduce your allergy symptoms, contact Custom Comfort today.