Rapid advancements in energy conservation science have dramatically improved construction standards over the last two decades. While substantially reducing energy consumption and the carbon footprint, buildings with sealed duct systems and tight envelopes usually do not draw in enough fresh air to keep the indoor environment healthy.
Homes and offices without proper ventilation and filtration trap harmful pollutants and biological organisms inside the living area. This includes noxious gas, pollen, smoke, dirt, debris, and animal dander. Poorly designed HVAC systems create condensation issues, which can promote the growth of fungi, mold and bacteria.
Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is common in older buildings. Duct systems that were improperly designed or poorly installed often experience negative pressure air leakage, which can draw contaminants into the living area from the crawl space or attic. Fine dust and insulation particles can aggravate respiratory conditions, especially in the elderly or small children.
The nation’s asthma problem has reached alarming proportions and research has demonstrated a link between substandard IAQ and a variety of respiratory ailments. To illustrate the severity of the problem, the Environmental Protection Agency has categorized indoor pollution as a one of the top five modern environmental hazards.
Which Indoor Air Quality Products are Right for Me?
To ensure that an indoor environment remains free of harmful contaminants, a building should incorporate the elements of ventilation, filtration, humidification, and eradication.
- Ventilation: Mechanical ventilators continually introduce a specific amount of fresh air into a building. Contractors calibrate ventilation devices according to ASHRAE Standard 62.2 to achieve a balance between energy savings and indoor air dilution. Energy recovery ventilators work in a similar manner, but they capture lost energy during the air exchange process.
- Filtration: Filters are rated according to the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), which is a measurement of the amount of particulate matter trapped during each cycle of air through the filter. In a central air conditioning system, advanced filtration removes impurities from the air in a more efficient manner than cheap, disposable fiberglass filters. Aprilaire air cleaners, media filter cabinets, and electronic air cleaners deliver exceptional performance and some models capture over 90 percent of airborne particles under 1 micron. Aprilaire filtration systems are compatible with optional programmable thermostats that control system runtime and provide alerts when the filter should be changed.
- Humidification: Indoor humidity control is a critical element in maintaining healthy indoor air quality. An environment that is too dry allows microscopic irritants to remain airborne where they can aggravate existing respiratory conditions. In fact, congested nasal passages and dry skin can lead to the development of numerous ailments and illnesses. Aprilaire humidifiers can help maintain a consistent level of indoor humidity with their steam and powered units designed for whole-house applications.
- Eradication: Mold and other biological organisms multiply in environments that provide moisture. In a heating and air conditioning system, condensation is usually found at the evaporator coil. When placed inside the coil or ductwork, a germicidal UV lamp will destroy a variety of mold spores, pollen, viruses, and bacteria as it sterilizes the interior of the air handler.
The Brand We Recommend
Aprilaire offers a complete line of advanced indoor air quality products designed to meet every indoor pollution challenge. This includes steam and whole-home humidifiers, electronic and media filters, dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats, and mechanical ventilators.
At Griffith Energy Services, we remain committed to providing our customers with a comfortable, healthy and energy efficient indoor environment. We invite you to visit our website to learn more about Aprilaire air cleaners and other important IAQ-related products.