Can an Air Conditioner Mitigate Indoor Air Pollution?
Understandably, you invested in an air conditioner mainly to keep your home cool during the summer. You can comfortably enjoy the indoor temperature you set on the thermostat and don’t have to worry about sweating or feeling sticky. However, did you know that your air conditioner can also improve indoor air quality?
First, invest in a highly efficient AC and have it regularly serviced to work correctly. Consult a reliable air conditioning expert for regular checkups and maintenance. How does an air conditioner improve indoor air quality?
Removing VOCs in the Air
Indoor air quality is often two to five times worse than outdoor air quality. The main culprits of indoor air pollution are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by various household products, including cleaning supplies, air fresheners, and pesticides. Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is also commonly found in indoor air.
While you can take measures to reduce the amount of VOCs in your home, such as using natural cleaning products, you can’t totally eliminate them. However, you can use your air conditioner to remove some.
The air circulation reduces VOC concentration, and the AC’s filter traps some. Additionally, if you have an activated carbon filter, it will remove common VOCs, like formaldehyde.
Too much humidity in the air causes health problems, mold and dust mite growth, musty odors, and water damage. The ideal indoor humidity level is between 30 and 50 percent. Buy a hygrometer to measure the humidity level in your home.
If the humidity is too high, running your air conditioner can reduce it. The AC removes moisture from the air as it cools it, reducing humidity. Additionally, if you have a dehumidifier function, it will work even better. It’s a good idea to use the dehumidifier function even when the temperature is comfortable because it reduces mold and dust mite growth.
Improving Air Circulation
Stagnant air leads to a build-up of contaminants. Poor air circulation can also make it difficult for your AC to cool your home adequately. If you have a central AC, the air is pulled through ducts and circulated throughout your home. A window AC pulls air into the unit and then pushes it out into the room.
How Do You Ensure Your AC Handles These Tasks
For your AC to improve indoor air quality, you must ensure it’s the right type and size. An HVAC contractor can help you select a suitable unit. After you have an ideal AC, keep it properly maintained. Regularly change the air filter and schedule annual maintenance checkups.
Change the filter every three months, or more often if you have pets or someone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma. A dirty filter will make your AC work harder and could lead to expensive repairs. During regular maintenance checkups, the contractor will clean the unit and ensure all the parts are working correctly. Other than this:
Replace When Too Old
An old air conditioner is not effective in improving indoor air quality. As your AC ages, it becomes less energy-efficient and doesn’t effectively remove contaminants. When an AC is over ten years old, it’s time to start shopping for a replacement.
Buy Filters With a Higher Merv Rating
The minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating indicates how well an AC filter traps particles. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles the filter traps. To improve indoor air quality, buy filters with a MERV rating of 11 or 12.
Go Ahead and Enjoy Improved Indoor Air Quality
When you invest in the right air conditioner, you’ll enjoy improved indoor air quality. Allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems will be less of a problem. You can also invest in an air purifier as a stand-alone device that removes contaminants from the air. Some use HEPA filters, which are very effective in trapping particles.