Improving HVAC system efficiency and IAQ in your Columbia, Maryland home potentially can reduce your utility bills and help to reduce your carbon footprint. Reducing indoor air pollutants like dust, cleaning products, cigarette smoke, mold, and pet dander can actually improve your health as well as the environment. These substances can cause asthma attacks, allergies, flu-like symptoms, headaches, and more. Some chemicals may even increase your risk of cancer in high concentrations.
Try these eight methods to increase your heating and air conditioning system’s efficiency while improving your home’s indoor air quality.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats can make heating and air conditioning systems much more efficient. Simply set a programmable thermostat to raise or lower the temperature of your home when you’re away or asleep, and then return it to your preferred temperature before you wake up or arrive at home. You can even control some models from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
If you have a large home or a house with more than one storey, consider installing zoning systems with individual thermostats. With this setup, you can concentrate heating or cooling only in certain areas.
Use Air Purifiers
Air purifiers filter or clean indoor air by removing dust, dirt, smoke, mold spores, and chemical contaminants like traces of hairspray and cleaning products. Ambient air purification devices like air ionizers and ozone generators also emit sanitizing substances. Air ionizers give off negative ions that bond to contaminants, which stick to walls and furniture. To keep dirt from ending up on walls, some air ionizers have easy-to-clean collector plates. Ozone generators use ozone to oxidize harmful chemicals into carbon dioxide and water. They also make dust and dirt cluster together and drop out of the air.
Advanced electronic filtration systems can remove airborne impurities much more efficiently than standard HVAC filters. Some high-efficiency filters can remove particles less than 0.3 microns wide that are invisible to the naked eye. These high-quality filters can improve air quality in any household, especially if a family member has asthma, allergies, or a weak immune system. They’re also very popular in cleanrooms, hospitals, surgical rooms, and other places where dust removal is essential. Many air purifiers are compatible with programmable thermostats, so you can get an alert when you need a new filter.
Common houseplants like peace lilies, snake plants, Boston ferns, spider plants, and bamboo palms can remove harmful toxins from the air without adding to your power bill. They also produce oxygen and add color and life to homes. Add one houseplant every 100 square feet for optimal contaminant removal. Grow hardy herbs like rosemary in your kitchen to help with your cooking as well as improve the air quality.
Check Your Insulation
Gaps in the insulation waste a significant amount of energy in most homes. Make a point of checking your insulation for leaks at least once per year. Insulation can also become compacted over time and lose its effectiveness. It could also become water damaged by a roof leak or a storm. Without repairs, mold and mildew often grow.
Adding more insulation can make your home quieter and more comfortable, and it can keep pollen, dust, insects, and other pests out. As a general rule, if your existing attic insulation is at or below your floor joists, then you need more. If you can’t see your floor joists because your insulation is above them, however, you don’t need to add anything. Just make sure your insulation is evenly distributed.
If your home has no wall insulation, spraying new insulation can increase your comfort and save energy, since your heating and air conditioning system won’t have to work as hard. Spray foam insulation reduces contaminants and increases indoor air quality by stopping pollutants and allergens from moving. Spray foam insulation expands to fill cracks and crevices, minimizes airflow and moisture movement, and helps prevent the growth of mold. It doesn’t settle over time like many other types of insulation, and it’s not vulnerable to water or damage from pests.
Maintain the Heating and Cooling System
Heating and air conditioning systems offer improved comfort and air quality when they’re operating at peak efficiency. Without regular maintenance, your HVAC system has to work harder or stay on longer to keep your home at the same temperature. Regular maintenance can help your HVAC system save energy and last longer before replacement is necessary. To keep up that efficiency, you should have your HVAC system inspected by a professional at least once per year.
Check your air filters once per month and change them at least every three months or as soon as they get dirty. Changing them regularly keeps dust and dirt from building up in your system and leading to expensive problems. Airborne pollutants will also stay in your home as your filter loses its effectiveness. You can even add an air filter monitor that measures air pressure differences in your HVAC system so you can tell exactly when to change your air filter. Some monitors can send a wireless reminder to your smartphone or tablet when it’s time to change your filter.
Ensure Proper Ventilation
Proper ventilation improves indoor air quality by increasing the amount of clean outdoor air entering your home. This dilutes concentrations of indoor pollutants, reduces excess moisture, and pushes out stale indoor air. For the best ventilation, install and use a range hood in the kitchen to remove excess moisture, cooking odors, smoke, and other pollutants. Look for a quiet, high-quality model with multiple speeds. You can also use bathroom fans to remove moisture after showers and prevent mold and mildew growth. A whole-house ventilation system removes polluted air from your home and replaces it with filtered outside air.
Most homes use a natural ventilation strategy that relies on wind or cross ventilation and the fact that hot air rises. Simple steps like opening windows on opposite sides of a room occasionally and adding vents on roof ridges and eaves can improve circulation when needed without reducing efficiency. The difference in temperature between inside and outside air causes air movement. You can also add fans to vents to make your HVAC system much more efficient.
Griffith Energy Services has over 100 years of HVAC experience, and we offer convenient, dependable emergency service 24 hours a day. Call 888-474-3391 to speak with one of our skilled technicians and learn more about increasing your heating and air conditioning system’s efficiency and improving your home’s air quality.
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