Understanding indoor air quality

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Every year, spring seems like it can only bring fun and happiness. There is warmer weather, beautiful colours and blossoming plants.

What is often overlooked is air quality.

In the spring, people (especially those with allergies) can experience headaches, nausea or irritation of the nose, throat and eyes due to the pollutants in the air. The pollen, freshly cut grass, seasonal animal dander and other irritants are littered throughout the air you breathe.

The air being pushed into your home through your air conditioner, open windows and doors will do the same thing. In fact, according to one of our manufacturers, York Heating & Air Conditioning, the air quality inside your home can be up to five times worse than outdoor air. Without proper preparation, there is no escaping the new spring pollutants.

Luckily, there are steps that you can take to improve the air quality in your home and avoid the discomfort that comes with poor air quality:

ERV vs. HRV

At HAMCO, we recommend an Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) unit over a Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) Unit. The main reason for this is because of the climate we live in.

Both units are used to exchange stale air from inside your house while transferring the temperature of the air leaving your house onto the air entering it. The new air coming in is also filtered so it provides a cleaner product without a significant temperature change.

While both are built for the same purpose, HRV units are ideal for bringing humidity into your home, which is great in the winter, but not ideal in the summer. Ontario already has very humid summers and so an increase in your indoor humidity can not only create more discomfort, it can also damage your home. We’re sure you’ve heard the expression of walls “sweating”…

ERV units are designed in a way that they are ideal for Canadian summers and winters. While providing you fresh, clean air, they are able to extract humidity in the summer and bring it in during the dry winters.

If you are serious about improving your indoor air quality, you should consider an ERV unit.

Air Purification Systems

There are many types of Air purification systems available. They can range from to humidifiers, dehumidifiers, filters and stream/filtration technologies.

All of these products are created to serve the same purpose: improve your home comfort. By using these technologies properly, you can create settings that are meant to attack:

  • Small breathable particles such as dust, dirt pollen and allergens
  • Dangerous particles such as airborne mould, spores, bacteria and viruses
  • Unpleasant odours and potentially harmful chemical vapours

Purification systems can offer some benefits that simple filtration can’t. The particles mentioned above would be combated, not just filtered out. By attacking these particles directly, you are able to remove a higher percentage of the pollutants from the air you breathe.

However, one aspect to consider when thinking about an air purification system is the maintenance. They require regular annual maintenance to ensure they are running at peak form. You’ll have to remember to service them frequently.

Change Your Air Filter

Your HVAC filters are the gateway to your home and when maintained properly, they can be your indoor air quality’s best friend.

What is particularly important is that you have the right filter. Filters come in different sizes and MERV ratings (resistances) and without the proper size for your system, your home comfort will suffer.

The MERV rating on your air filter is what decides how many particles are kept out of your living space. If it is too restrictive, it can harm the airflow in your system. If it isn’t restrictive enough, too many particles will pass through into your home. Consult your HAMCO service technician for advice.

If you have any further questions regarding how to improve your indoor air quality. Click here to contact us today.

 

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