Indoor Air Quality: Facts vs. Fiction
With all that is going on in the world these days I want to spend a few moments to cover some of the basics of indoor air quality, dispel a couple myths and hit you with some truths.
Myth: UV lights alone will kill all the germs in your home.
Ultra violet lights are a great thing to help keep your air conditioner clean internally. The reason is they are constantly shining on the coil and blower preventing biological growth. When it comes to the air itself, UV lights have a very small kill zone and while yes they will kill some germs and viruses that pass by them; the volume of air is just too high for a UV light alone to be effective at sanitizing the entire home.
Fact: UV lights when used in combination with true air scrubbing products are effective at sanitizing the entire house.
All AC companies have a favorite air scrubber product that produces hydrogen peroxide from the water in the air thus creating a cleaner environment. A couple of really good choices are the Aerus air scrubber and Remi Halo. Do not buy cheap products off the internet as you are likely wasting your money. An effective air scrubber is going to cost around a thousand dollars and the bulbs will need to be changed every two years at a cost of about $250.
Myth: It is just an air filter why can’t I just buy cheap ones.
Before I got into the AC business I thought the same way. It’s just a filter why should I spend extra money when I can buy one for $1.89? What difference does it make? Now that I have been educated I really understand the difference a good filter can make.
Fact: Filters all have different MERV values. (Minimum efficiency reporting values)
The MERV scale ranges from 1-16 with 16 being the most efficient. When buying filters at your local home improvement store look for at least a MERV 10 rating or better. Good filters help keep the air and the AC unit clean. When you get up to a MERV 16 filter there are products on the market such as IQ Air that will actually remove mold and some viruses from the air. For MERV 16 products you will typically need to consult your local air conditioning specialist.
Myth: Duct work doesn’t matter.
The old saying out of sight out of mind comes into play here. You don’t see your duct system so it does not exist in your mind. The best analogy I can use here is the tires on your car. Buy a new Corvette and then take off those big wide tires, put on the little doughnut spares and your shiny new machine isn’t going to drive the way you want, right? It’s the same thing with an AC system. You can buy the best machine in the world and if there are issues with the ducts that air conditioner is just not going to work correctly or efficiently.
Fact: Duct work that is not properly sealed is a huge waste of money and likely the biggest contributor to dust and dirt in your home.
When the air is on it is moving through the duct system at around 10 MPH. Any holes in the duct work create a Venturi effect pulling into the duct system whatever is around it on the outside, thus bypassing your filter. Since most duct systems here are in the attic that means the duct work is pulling dust, dirt, mold, pollen and allergens into your home. By using a product such as Aeroseal and properly sealing the duct system you will reduce your cooling costs and greatly improve the air quality in your home.
As my faithful readers know I typically end with a joke or a pun, now is not the time for that. Now is the time to take a serious look at the air quality in your home and take measures to improve it. If I can help guide you in your choices feel free to email me at THW@artcanfixit.com. Until next time my friend, wash your hands, practice social distancing and stay safe. House Whisperer out!!