A growing number of people are starting to realize the importance of indoor air quality and the key role that the right HVAC company can play in obtaining this type of healthy environment. Living in South Florida, buildings are always looking for new and innovative ways to conserve energy and make sure that an air tight environment is established. Especially now with Hurricane impact resistant windows, there is less of a threat to provide any potential leaks or increase in the energy bill through old drafty windows. Although new technological advancements have helped with keeping us safe during torrential storms and have helped in increasing our energy conservation, there also comes a slow realization that although everything is sealed and nothing is coming in, subsequently nothing in return is going out.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has found that indoor air is normally 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air and in certain extreme cases can be 1,000 times more contaminated. Since most people now spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, we are essentially breathing in re-circulated indoor air instead of fresh outdoor air that we previously had circulating through our home or office.
So what exactly are we breathing in the air?
Particulates- particles coming from building materials, furnishings, cleaning products or outdoor dust and dirt tracked inside. This may include dust mites, pet dander, pollen, air fresheners, fumes from cleaning chemicals and smoke. These items are prone to trigger allergies and/or other respiratory issues that may develop over time.
VOC or Volatile organic compounds- most people do not realize the impact on their health that these compounds are causing as well as how often they are breathing in these materials. Unfortunately, it is found in many of our household or office products, such as synthetic carpets, insulation, pressed woods, petroleum based glues and plastic laminates to name a few. Research has finally found the link between the inhalation of these toxic odors to something as common as allergies, headaches or chronic fatigue, to chronic respiratory issues and even cancer! Since choosing a healthier more natural alternative in the workplace may not always be an option for you, ensuring that the HVAC system in the facility is maintained and sanitized on a regular basis may be an easier solution for prevention.
Mold- living in South Florida, mold is a prevalent problem that most households have to deal with on a daily basis. Mold can also be the cause for particulates and VOC's that you are breathing in, compromising IAQ (indoor air quality) and subsequently affecting your health overall. Since it is difficult to eradicate mold spores completely from your workspace or home, the next best option is to prevent moisture problems and/or quickly identifying any mold issues in the building and resolving it as soon as possible to prevent growth or reoccurrence. Properly maintaining your HVAC unit can prevent the growth of mold from spreading throughout your air handler and throughout the ductwork within your building, subsequently leading into the office space where you spend most of your time.
Since contaminants in the air are raising to unsafe levels due to the lack of "fresh" air circulating, what else can be done to improve IAQ in your home or office?
Installing UV lights- these ultraviolet, germicidal lights are a non-toxic way to remove mold spores, harmful bacteria and dander during the HVAC air-filtration process when installed properly in the supply and return plenum. They disrupt the growth or reproduction of any type of bacteria in the air and system, allowing you to breathe in cleansed air. Another positive attribute for UV lights is that they operate continuously, 24 hours a day, allowing it to work towards eliminating any toxins in your air regardless of whether or not your HVAC system is operating. Lastly, UV germicidal lights can also extend the life of your system, since cleaner air being filtered through allows for less stress on the unit.
Properly maintaining your HVAC system on a regular schedule. In order to avoid any unnecessary accumulation of debris or moisture forming mold in your HVAC system, a regular maintenance is essential. A proper, well-rounded maintenance would include the following:
- Evaporator coil sanitized on a routine basis with a bio degradable non-toxic coil cleaner.
- Duct cleaning services, if done properly, can also help maintain the cleanliness inside the air stream, also dramatically improving the air quality in your office building or home.
- Blower wheel, also sanitized and mold free from any potential contaminants, as well as being rust free. IF it rusts, it can also get into the air stream when the wheels are turning, so prevention is key.
- Drain pans- cleaned and sanitized to ensure that there is no type of bacteria growth. Drain pans are normally the inception point of bacteria growth.
- When the drain pan has water that is not properly draining, mold growth subsequently begins. Drain pans can have poor drainage if it is blocked or restricted by a build up of slime from a dirty coil or improper filter changing, therefore, a thorough maintenance is essential for prevention as well.
At AC Power & Comfort, we are constantly inspecting and maintaining our clients HVAC units to ensure that they have most optimal Indoor Air Quality. Please contact us to schedule your preventative maintenance today! www.acpowercomfort.com, Palm Beach (561)405-5946, Broward (954)204-8399