According to the State of Air Report (2014) by the American Lung Association, nearly half of the people in the U.S. live in counties with extremely unhealthy levels of pollution (ozone and particulate).
The presence of particulate matter in the air as well as spikes in ozone density is hazardous for homeowners whose primary protection against the onslaught of these pollutants is the proper functioning of their A/C units and HVACs. But these air conditioning units also need some effort on your part. Step in and boost the quality of air inside your home by taking the following steps.
1. Reduce the Chemical Content in Air
Common household activities such as cooking, smoking, sanding, and use of harsh solvent based cleaners are a rich source of dispersing VOCs, (volatile Organic Compounds) into the air. The VOCs that these activities release into the immediate atmosphere include toxic and reactive gases such as carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, as well as other toxic and allergic compounds.
You can reduce VOCs from contaminating the indoor air by taking:
* Using products, especially cleaning solvents and sprays, that are certified as low-emitting and environmentally friendly
* Reduce the use of solvent based harsh cleaners
* Perform debris-generating activities such as sanding, polishing, paint stripping, etc. outside of home
* Reducing or outright banning indoor smoking
Your air conditioning units are a closed system. Their only intake of air is the one available inside the rooms. It does not inject fresh air from the outside atmospheres. Hence, the efforts you put in reducing the levels of VOC and other particulate matter inside the rooms will directly affect the efficiency of your A/C unit as well as keep the indoor air quality up to standard.
2. Manually Increase the Ventilation
The air inside the home, at times, can become more dangerous than the pollutant rich atmosphere outside. This is because the A/C units can function most efficiently if the same air can be reconditioned again. Aid your HVACs and A/Cs by injecting a fresh supply of air through proper ventilation. You can do this with the following methods:
*Letting the doors and windows open whenever the temperatures and level of humidity permit it
*Venting all the fuel burning equipment away from ventilation ducts (in case of HVACs) and windows
3. Maintaining a Dust Free Indoor Environment
You can reduce the strain on the air filters by preventing the build up of dust inside the rooms with the following:
*Reduce build-up of allergens by regularly washing the sheets, comforters, pillows, etc
*Clean pets regularly to reduce the build up and shredding of pet dander and hair.
*Vacuum using HEPA cleaners for removing surface dust.
*Inculcate a habit of removing shoes whenever someone walks into the house. A good way to do this would be to place walk-off mats at every entrance to your home.
4. Clean Your A/C Units
Regularly maintain your A/C units. Pay special attention to DIY projects like cleaning filters while contacting professionals for maintaining coils, and coolant levels, and in case of HVACs cleaning the air ducts once every year.
All the best!