Indoor air pollution is considered to be one of the top 5 environmental risks to the health of the public. To those of you who thought you were safe in your own home – you have been fooled, but do not worry this can be reversed.Every home today is equipped with an air conditioning and/or heating system. Regardless of the kind of system you use to cool and/or heat your home, air is constantly being supplied to you in order for you to be comfortable. In HVAC systems air travels through a duct system, over and over again, so that a desired temperature is reached and maintained throughout your home. Even though air is being filtered throughout this process not all of it is filtered properly and some airborne pathogens are sneaking their way into your home.In regards to the hotter months the HVAC system is pumping out cool air constantly so that people can escape from the heat. Cooling systems take the warm air from the home, turn it into cool air and then it goes right back where it belonged, only colder. Since your air conditioning is running 24 hours a day it could put you and your family at a higher risk in catching a virus or bacterial infection especially to those who are more vulnerable (elderly, children, those with asthma and/or allergies).The only way to control air quality and eliminate any dangerous pathogens in your home is to consider the use of another air purification system for your HVAC unit.
What exactly does an “air purifier” do?Air purification systems, either stand alone units or units that are mounted to an HVAC system, remove gas and/or particle contaminants from the air. While increasing the quality of air within the home they also reduce the risk of viruses nestling in your homes waiting for you to breathe them in.As air is lifted from your home to the vents it is filtered by your HVAC system. But not all contaminants are taken into account. If you think about it, air is continuously being sucked through the ducts in order for it to be cooled. Once it is cooled it is then pushed back to your home. Particles can remain in your duct system without your consent. The new cool air that you are getting could potentially be contaminated because it had to pass through the duct system in order to reach you. HVAC systems do filter the air, but not all particles are caught in the filter. Dust, pollen, pet dancer, mold spores, and dust mite feces are only a few contaminants that can potentially be breathed in by you and your family.Just because you make sure to dust everyday does not mean that everything is “clean”. Where do you think all that dust went after you wiped it off of the television?My recommendation is to consider one of these types of air purification systems, or a combination of a few, in order to make sure that indoor air quality is maintained within your home.1. Thermodynamic Sterilization System – Just a fancy name for heat sterilization. Air passes through this system and heat is used in order to destroy microorganisms. This is not a “filtering” technology. Put simply it kills any microorganism by use of heat. Although it may kill harmful bacteria, it will also kill any kind of microorganism which could potentially be a problem. This standalone unit is designed around the footage of a certain room. It uses electricity to operate and maintain air quality. If you are looking to improve air quality in more than one room, and if you have a big home, you will have to consider purchasing more than one.2. UV Lights- These UV lights are specifically installed within the ducts of your HVAC system. As air is blown, cool or warm, to your home these UV lights send out short wavelengths of light in order to disintegrate microorganisms. The UV light sterilizes, reduces growth and also protects the homeowners from breathing in any harmful bacteria that made it past the air filters within your HVAC system.3. Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) – A few years ago it was considered a “new” emerging technology in the HVAC industry. This specific air purification system uses UV light in order to energize the catalyst. The catalyst then oxidizes the harmful pollutants. Since the pollutants are being overwhelmed with oxygen, they die. Gas pollutants and odors are destroyed but other pollutants, such as dust, are still living rent free in your ducts.4. HEPA Filters – HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are made up of randomly arranged fibers composed of fiberglass. These specific filters are designed to target smaller pollutants. Most air purification systems can filter out gasses and/or odor molecules but they are “too big” for HEPA. These specific filters make sure that the smaller microorganism gets caught reducing the spread of airborne pathogens. HEPA filters can be combined with any of the above technologies in order to maintain premium air quality.So the answer is YES. Air purification systems are necessary in your home especially if you are being supplied with cool and/or warm air by an HVAC system.The air you breathe in from outside is totally different from the filtered air that you are being supplied with in your home. You would think that the air outside is more harmful, but the fact is that in most cases the air outdoors is better than the air in your home.It is important to:a. MAINTAIN – make sure your HVAC system is checked 2 times a year by a professional technician using a 24 point inspection. They will make sure everything is running correctly and will also check to see if your ducts are clean. Having your ducts cleaned once a year can reduce your risk to any airborne pathogens that can enter your home. Maintenance goes a long way, be proactive!b. ELIMINATE – Make sure you have some sort of air purification system, or a combination of systems. You want to make sure that any harmful pathogen is eliminated and is not living rent free in your home. By eliminating any bacteria and/or mold you are also making sure that your HVAC system is running efficiently.c. VENTILATE – On a cool day, open your windows! Let some fresh air in your home and turn off your air conditioning. The fresh air, especially if there is a breeze, can pull all those harmful pathogens outside. A little fresh air never hurt anyone.