One of the top recommendations for improving an air conditioning system’s efficiency is air sealing your home. Closing the building envelope means locking heating and cooling energy within the house. This is done by improving insulation, upgrading the windows and doors, and a number of other home improvements designed to keep heating and cooling energy from escaping. The downside is at times poor indoor air quality.
First, we must understand how an air conditioner works. In the simplest terms, your central air unit transfers the heat inside your home to the air outside your house. It works along the same lines as a refrigerator. Air quality is affected because efficiency relies on a closed system and dust, pet dander, viruses, and other pollutants become trapped in the home. However, there are ways to improve the situation.
- Vent kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms directly outside.
- Ensure ductwork is not located in a garage or areas that can draw pollutants into the home.
- Fireplaces and wood stoves must have tight doors and use an outdoor air intake if possible.
- Keep paints, pesticides, and other toxic compounds outside the living space.
- Avoid smoking, candles, indoor barbecues, vent-free heaters, and decorative combustible appliances.
- Open windows when using cleaning products, doing hobbies, or other activities that require polluting compounds.
- Use good quality pleated filters in your heating and cooling system.
- Install a whole-home air purification system to remove pollutants.
You may also want to consider air duct cleaning. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states they are unable to make a blanket recommendation on whether you should have your air ducts cleaned. There is no evidence cleaning air ducts of a build up of dust and dirt will improve air quality. However, there are times when you should have a professional clean your air ducts: significant mold growth, pest infestation, or dust is coming from registers.
If you would like to talk more about indoor air quality, or need more information, please contact us.