What Is Indoor Air Quality? Can My AC System Help?

What Is Indoor Air Quality? Can My AC System Help?

Your AC System does much more than just push out cool air. Air conditioning systems today, especially high-efficiency systems, help control what’s known as IAQ or Indoor Air Quality.”  IAQ is a combination of cleanliness of the air (no dust or pollen), humidity, temperature control and odor.

air quality, air quality awareness week, indoor air quality, home maintenance,

Why is this important?

Indoor air quality can affect your health, comfort and wallet. The following tips can help keep your air clean, fresh and healthy.

1. Change your air filters every three months or at the beginning of every heating and cooling season.

  • Filters keep out dust, pollen, spores and other airborne problems that can lead to health issues.
  • Changing the filter is important because a dirty filter causes less airflow, which makes your system work harder and costs you more money in energy bills.
  •  A dirty filter can also cause your system to overheat or lead to other permanent damage.
  • Check with the original equipment manufacturer’s recommendation for exact timing.

2. Get a High SEER (more efficient) system.

  • To maintain good air quality you need to have longer periods of air circulation allowing the air to constantly pass through the filter.
  • The higher efficiency systems can run at low power for longer periods and keep the air moving in your home. This is simultaneously better for your air quality and is more energy efficient.
  • High efficiency systems (>16 SEER) feature stepped or variable speed modes that change the amount of cooling and air flow that is delivered.

3. Avoid using room air conditioners and ductless systems that don’t have proper air filtration.

  • These systems are ideal for small spaces that require cooling, but if you try to use them for more than just an “add-on” zone to your main system you will likely not be pleased with the overall air circulation and filtration that will result.
  • The key to keeping your air healthy and dust free is to keep it moving through your ducted central air conditioning system

4. Keep humidity low.

  • Humidity causes the air to feel hotter than it really is which usually prompts people to crank up their AC system.
  • Without humidity you would actually be more comfortable at higher temperatures and save money on your energy bill.
  • Similar to an air filter, your central air conditioning system can act like a big sponge to remove the moist, humid air from your home, making it important to run efficiently for longer periods.
  • In addition to comfort issues, high humidity can cause mold to grow which can lead to health problems.

The Bottom Line:

Your central air conditioning system can provide good indoor air quality for many years if you and your contractor select the right equipment, have it installed properly and keep up with filter changes and other basic maintenance.