The air quality in your Elizabethtown, KY home could decline significantly in spring. Snow-melt, decaying leaves, increased pollen, and pests are just a few of many factors that contribute to higher levels of allergens and contaminants both in and around buildings. The good news is that you don’t have to greet the warmer weather with itchy eyes and skin or frequent bouts of coughing, sniffling, and wheezing. With the right indoor air quality (IAQ) accessories, you can maintain clean, healthy indoor air year-round.

Start by Caring for Your HVAC Equipment

Your HVAC system is your most important tool for protecting and improving your IAQ. Even lacking modifications and accessories, it filters all of the air that’s distributed throughout your living environment. Diligent maintenance ensures that heating and cooling equipment isn’t harboring dust, dander, pollen, and pathogens and that it’s functioning correctly.

Schedule Springtime HVAC System Maintenance

Furnaces and air conditioners need annual maintenance from licensed HVAC companies. You should have your air conditioner or heat pump serviced in early or mid-spring before you first turn it on for the cooling season. Routine maintenance primes air conditioners and heat pumps for daily use. It also eliminates buildups of particulates that might otherwise break free and reenter the indoor air.

Stay on Top of HVAC Air Filter Replacements

The general recommendation for HVAC air filter replacements is to inspect these components monthly and replace them every one to three months. However, in spring, you’ll likely have more airborne dust and other debris to contend with. With higher pollen counts, increased foot traffic, and more outdoor activities disturbing dust in the area, you may want to check your filter every three to four weeks and change it every one to two months instead. This is especially true if anyone living in your home has asthma or allergies.

Clean Your Gutters, Landscape, and Air Registers, Vents, and Grilles

Get rid of all damp, organic debris that’s accumulated around your home. Rake up soggy, sodden leaves and remove all tree-fall from the base of your downspouts and gutters. Check for these same buildups around your AC’s outdoor condenser unit.

At the interior of the building, remove all dust from your air registers, vents, and grilles. If necessary, you can also lightly vacuum behind your HVAC air vent covers using the attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Finish up by cleaning your bathroom exhaust fans and range hood vent cover.

Don’t Forget Your Ductwork

Like heaters and air conditioners, HVAC air ducts require professional inspection and maintenance services each year. According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), it’s also a good idea to have your air ducts professionally cleaned at least once every three years.

Upgraded Air Filters and Their Benefits and Limitations

With your HVAC system in top shape and your property free of mold-supporting debris, the next step in your IAQ improvement plan is to optimize your HVAC system’s filtration capabilities. All HVAC air filters have maximum efficiency reporting value (MERV) ratings. You can usually find these on their packaging and printed on their frames. The lowest possible MERV rating is one and the highest is 20.

Most standard air filters have MERV ratings between six and eight. With their relatively large filter mesh and modest surface areas, they don’t capture micro-fine debris. Many common allergens like dust mites, dander, and mold spores slip right through them. They work best for picking up carpet and textile fibers, pet fur, hair, lint, and dirt.

Upgrading to a filter with a MERV rating of at least eight can improve your springtime IAQ. These filters come with slightly tighter mesh and greater density. However, they still fail to address many common IAQ concerns. Moreover, higher-rated filters diminish airflow throughout HVAC systems the more that their ratings increase. So much so, in fact, that filters with MERV ratings of 14 and higher require HVAC system modifications for successful installation.

What Are Integrated HVAC Accessories?

Among the most effective ways to improve your IAQ this spring is installing integrated HVAC accessories. These accessories are installed in HVAC air ducts or attached to them to improve IAQ and better regulate indoor humidity. They include whole-house air purifiers, air scrubbers, media filters, and UV lights. Often known as air cleaners these systems accomplish what even many upgraded HVAC air filters cannot:

  • Deactivating gaseous chemical contaminants
  • Eliminating mold, mildew, viruses, and bacteria
  • Neutralizing unpleasant odors
  • Capturing particulates as small as 0.3 microns

Integrated HVAC system accessories can be especially beneficial in homes with residents who suffer from chronic respiratory ailments like asthma and allergies and in buildings with ongoing or recurring IAQ concerns.

What Does Whole-Home Air Purification Do?

Whole-house air cleaners don’t replace HVAC air filters. Air filters continue to filter air as it’s drawn into heaters and air conditioners. Whether installed in ducting or connected to it, these accessories clean already conditioned air before it’s distributed throughout buildings. Many whole-house air purifiers have dense filter mesh, lots of surface area, and unique filter designs that trap micro-sized particulates as small as the aerosols of a sneeze.

Some air purifiers and air scrubbers also release sanitizing agents or leverage ozone-generating or ionizing technology. These products limit the transmission of illness, eliminate mold spores, deactivate benzene, formaldehyde, and other commonly off-gassed chemicals, and eliminate pungent indoor odors.

Whole-House Humidification and Dehumidification Equipment

If your indoor humidity is too high or too low, your indoor air quality will suffer. Too much moisture creates the perfect conditions for mold and mildew formation, and too little leaves building interiors riddled with dust and other floating debris. Unlike portable humidifiers that add moisture indiscriminately to the air until their tanks run dry, whole-house humidification and dehumidification equipment adds or extracts moisture as needed to constantly maintain ideal humidity. In Elizabethtown, KY, homeowners should strive to maintain relative humidity of 40% to 55% year-round.

The Benefits of Installing Integrated Accessories

Integrated HVAC system accessories provide IAQ improvements during all seasons of the year. When specific to the unique challenges and requirements of individual homes, these products also prevent building damages such as warped wood, peeling paint, and soft drywall. They also extend the life spans of heaters, heat pumps, and air conditioners by preventing buildups of trapped debris, limiting stress, and allowing for efficient, problem-free performance.

Which IAQ Accessory Is Right for Your Home?

IAQ needs and concerns vary from building to building. Some households struggle with high concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other gaseous contaminants, and some struggle with lots of loose, large-sized particulate debris. Scheduling an indoor air quality assessment is the best way to determine which IAQ accessory is right for you. This test will measure your indoor humidity, determine which contaminants are present, and measure the concentrations of each. Along with our team, you can use this data to identify the underlying causes of your IAQ concerns and make the most of integrated HVAC accessories.

We’ve been proudly serving Elizabethtown, KY and the surrounding communities since 2008. In addition to an outstanding selection of garage doors, we offer first-rate heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing services. We also provide innovative IAQ improvements. To find out more or schedule an appointment, contact us at Absolute Services today.