And indoor air quality and hygiene may be even more important now, as the spread of the coronavirus – which can be transmitted through tiny airborne droplets – is such a widespread concern.
Craig Larson, while working as the service director for McFarlane’s heating and cooling, has found customers are increasingly cautious due to the pandemic, he said. “People are much more concerned about air quality.”
But actually, “it matters every day,” said Larson, who has 33 years of experience in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industries.
Fall is a good time to take a look at your stove’s air filter – and not just once.
“I tell people when you pay your light bill you should check your air filter to see if it’s dirty or not,” said Larson. A dirty filter can cause components to “clog,” he said.
A clogged air filter restricts airflow, which puts additional stress on the air handling unit’s fan motor and over time can burn out the motor and overheat the HVAC system and ultimately fail. Not only do dirty air filters waste money on energy bills, but the damage they can cause is sometimes irreparable.
A furnace inspection that takes 60 to 90 minutes can be done “anytime from September through winter,” Larson said.
McFarlane technicians use a 20-point checklist to evaluate how well various components are performing. They check the amp’s power draw – or the amount of power an electrical device uses – the burners, heat exchanger, and electrical connections, he said.
McFarlane specializes in Bryant heating and cooling equipment, which includes an electronic air filter that captures and kills 99% of airborne coronavirus particles, Larson said.
For homeowners who want more comprehensive air quality screening, a photoionization detector can be used to measure volatile organic compounds or VOCs and other gases. This instrument gives “a full display of everything that’s going on in the home,” said Larson.
Air quality and personal comfort are also affected by humidity – living in an overly dry house can be a disadvantage, emphasized Larson.
“If you walk the carpet and get an electric shock,” it is a sign that a bypass humidifier is needed, he said. McFarlane personnel can install this device which, when the heat is turned on, adds moisture to the circulating air.
“It will be mounted on the side of the duct,” he said.
On the other hand, too much moisture can also cause problems, Larson said. The more moisture you have, the more likely you are to have issues like excess moisture on the inside of windows. Excessive moisture can also lead to mold problems in the home.
“Once you find mold, you’ll want to ask a mold remediation company like Steamatic to remove it,” he said. A company of this type “would spray another neutralizer on it,” and the homeowner should then use a UV light or an ionizer to alleviate and prevent the problem.
During his career, Larson has often seen people buy older homes and install a home packaging product, high-efficiency windows, and more insulation, creating a house “like a sealed box,” he said. In such an environment “where you shower, cook, moisture builds up. They called it “sick air syndrome”. ”
Another option for improving home air quality is a heat recovery ventilation system that uses the heat in stale exhaust air to preheat the incoming fresh air, Larson said. This reduces the energy required to bring the outside air to room temperature and saves money on heating bills.
Calculating a house’s fresh air needs, as well as properly placing the ducts, is not easy. So it’s best to leave this to licensed HVAC installers.
Aside from getting professional HVAC services, consumers can use UV light disinfectants, ion air purifiers or electronic air filters to improve indoor air quality alone, Larson said.
Ultraviolet germicidal light deactivates the DNA of bacteria, germs, allergens, viruses and other pathogens, thereby destroying their ability to multiply and cause disease.
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