When you switch your HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) to a new setting, the transition might not always go smoothly. When turning the heat or air conditioning on for the first time in months, your system could run into minor problems, including a surplus of dust and debris. Other factors in your routine can also negatively affect the air in your home.
It might sound alarming, but with proper maintenance, these concerns can be avoided. So, here’s how your HVAC system affects the air quality of your home or office and how you can improve air quality overall.
How to Ensure That Your HVAC is Doing its Job
Having an HVAC system is essential for any home, whether you have an individual furnace and air conditioning unit or a heat pump, which is a heating and cooling system in one. Heat pumps are often known as the more efficient and affordable option because they transfer heat instead of generating it.
Yet, even a newer heat pump can have bad air quality. So, regardless of your system, it’s a good idea to ensure that your HVAC is doing its job properly, even during the seasons when it’s not used as frequently.
Here are some common signs that your HVAC is negatively affecting the air quality:
- Fluctuating Temperatures – If the temperature of your home greatly varies from one room to the next, then your HVAC system probably isn’t reaching its full potential. One room might always be freezing while another might feel sweltering when you enter it. A tear in your ductwork is sometimes all it takes for these uneven temperatures to form.
- Excessive Dust or Foul Smells – When you turn on your HVAC system, you shouldn’t be faced with unpleasant smells or uncontrollable coughing. It’s not uncommon for unwanted items like dust and debris to get trapped in your system and be dispersed when your system runs. Luckily, it’s nothing a little routine cleaning and maintenance can’t fix.
- Low Air Flow – If not enough air is circulating around your house, you might need an HVAC technician to come take a look at it. A professional can perform a test to see how much air the system is pushing out, noting any potential problems they come across.
- Unusual Noises – You might be used to your HVAC system making some noises, but if it’s not doing its job properly, you might notice loud, rattling sounds coming from the vents. Ductwork that wasn’t installed properly could be the cause. Have a professional look at your noisy unit for the best results.
To avoid any major problems with your HVAC system, it’s a good idea to keep up with its maintenance and care. Routine cleaning and inspections should be completed once a year if possible. It might sound like a pricey procedure, but it’s much more affordable to have a professional care for your system yearly than to have a critical problem emerge due to improper maintenance.
So, keep your system, ducts, and vents clean and don’t be afraid to turn to a professional for help. That’s the best way to ensure that your HVAC is doing its job and helping improve your building’s air quality.
Objects That Negatively Affect Air Quality
Even if you have a high-quality HVAC system that does its job, you could still have poor air quality. That’s because there are some other factors that go into your home’s air. The following are all items that could negatively affect air quality.
No one wants mold in their house, especially since it’s something they’ll have to constantly breathe in. If mold is in your home, it will greatly affect your air and eventually make you sick after prolonged exposure.
Here are some signs of mold in your home:
- The building smells musty
- You have allergic reactions, such as sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, trouble breathing, and rashes
- You feel nauseous or dizzy inside, sometimes accompanied by headaches
- Your nose, throat, and eyes feel irritated when you run your HVAC unit
In some cases, you might even see mold growing around the vents and air ducts. Staining in those areas is also a sign that mold is present.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are another common cause of indoor air pollution. They are gasses emitted into air products, and they can be hazardous. They can react with other gases in the air, and they’ve even been reported to cause cancer in extreme cases.
Some common VOCs are benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene. VOCs can come from building materials like paint, flooring, and finishes, but they can also come from household objects like cleaning products, cosmetics, and pesticides. They can also come from tobacco smoke and gasoline.
Not all VOCs are life-threatening for humans, but it’s safer to avoid them if possible. If you have too many objects with VOCs in your home, those chemicals could get into your air flow and harm your air quality further. Using a sensor to detect VOCs in the air can help ensure your safety.
Of course, pets are a part of the family, but they can negatively affect your air quality too. For pets that shed often, fur and dander might circulate throughout your home, causing more allergic reactions. This shouldn’t be a problem if you clean your home and brush your pet often, but it’s still something to consider. Even people who don’t normally have pet allergies can have reactions to the floating dander.
How to Improve Your HVAC’s Air Quality
There are a lot of factors that can worsen the air quality of your HVAC and your house. But luckily, there are also many ways to improve it too. Here are some tips for how to make the air in your environment cleaner and safer.
Keep Your Home Clean
The easiest and most efficient way to improve air quality is to keep your home clean. For many families, that’s easier said than done. We all want our house to stay clean, but it’s difficult to maintain a consistent chore schedule sometimes. Dusting off surfaces and vacuuming up dog fur is the best way to improve your house’s air quality. Setting up a cleaning schedule for your family is a great way to stay on top of this.
In addition to some additional dusting, it can also help to clean items that attract allergens more often. Wash bedding and blankets regularly to ensure that no dust builds up inside. Clearing some clutter can also prevent dust collections from forming.
Luckily, there are also ways to improve your home ventilation without any repairs or modifications. One easy way to do this is to keep interior doors open to allow better airflow. It’s also recommended that you regularly use the fans in your kitchen and bathroom.
You can also check to see if any furniture is blocking vents, preventing proper ventilation. If that’s the case, you might have to reorganize that room for optimal airflow.
If you ever have any home improvement jobs to complete, it can be helpful to keep the windows open if the weather is pleasant. This includes projects like painting, cleaning, and varnishing.
Change Your Filters
Many families don’t change their HVAC’s filters nearly as much as they should. Dirty filters could cause dust and dirt to flow through your house, making you more likely to sneeze and be exposed to other health concerns. So, set a reminder to change your filter if you’re guilty of forgetting. Getting your ducts cleaned can also help.
Update Your HVAC
Of course, in extreme cases, a new HVAC system could make things easier. If your older system isn’t running as efficiently as you’d like it to, your air quality might suffer. So, consider switching to a more advanced system that will put your worries to rest.
One of the most efficient options you can choose is a heat pump. Not only does a heat pump do the work of a heating and cooling system, but its overall cost is lower and it’s better on the environment. With a new heat pump, you’re less likely to experience problems with your heating and cooling. Of course, cleaning your home should still be a regular habit too for best results.
Scheduling regular maintenance on your HVAC system can also help you maintain it. Even if everything seems fine, it can’t hurt to have a professional look at your system annually to confirm that everything is running smoothly.
Are you worried that your HVAC system isn’t improving air quality in your home? Westisle Heating & Cooling can help you with all your HVAC needs. Contact us today to find out more information about how you can improve your home’s air quality and upgrade your system if needed.