12 HVAC System Suggestions for Making Home a Better Workplace
After the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns, workplaces are getting back to normal. But even after the return, the number of people expecting to work from home will double from pre-Covid figures. In addition, the US Census Bureau expects that the number of homeschooling families to double as well. Only time will tell if this is a fad or a trend. HVAC Systems will be stretched more than ever with this new “normal” we hear about.
This, out of necessity, encourages people to make home space a safer workspace and classroom, and seriously consider ways to improve indoor air quality. In order to make your home safe and comfortable, you will use the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system more frequently and for longer periods.
Maintaining this vital mechanical system is very important. We also encourage you to use some common-sense steps to keep everyone breathing easy.
- Your HVAC system is tasked with removing contaminating particles from the air. When windows and doors remain closed, the level of pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor air. Two main components require attention:
- Check your air filter regularly and replace it as needed—every three months at least. Shop for air filters rated at 12 MERV or above. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters have a MERV rating between 17 and 20, with excellent filtration results.
- Has your ductwork cleaned annually to remove accumulated dust, pollen, and dander?
- If family members have medical concerns such as severe allergies or asthma, consider enhancing the HVAC system with:
- Ultraviolet light inserted into the ductwork. UV disrupts cell membranes for microbes such as pollen, mold, bacteria, and viruses and the air filter traps them more readily.
- Air purifier with multiple layers of filtration to remove large particles, small particles, and even odors.
- Outdoor air is generally less polluted than indoor air, so open the house up as often as practical. Be aware of pollen count if anyone suffers from seasonal allergies.
- Use your programmable or smart thermostat to optimize comfort. A smart thermostat will control heating and cooling from any phone, tablet, laptop, or smart speaker for maximized comfort.
Practice Good Habits
- A home that is used all day long will need more attention—it may require more frequent dusting and vacuum because of the increased activity. If you notice more dust on the furniture, surmise that the dust is also landing on the carpet and flooring.
- Taking your shoes off when you enter reduces the dust, dirt, and grime you just walked through and brought inside. Whatever was outside will not be tracked through the house and deposited on flooring.
- Have your pets groomed regularly to reduce hair and pet dander?
- Add some houseplants as healthy decorations. Plants remove CO2 and produce O2 through photosynthesis, but some plants also remove toxins from the air. Be careful not to overwater plants, since this can stimulate the growth of mold.
- Dust mites are common in most households, floating around, feeding on organic material. Some common household items provide safe havens for mites, such as pillows and stuffed animals. Rid your home of these pests by putting portable items in the freezer for a couple of hours.
- Be mindful of what you burn. Fireplaces are a given, but lighting candles in indoor spaces produces considerable particulates that contribute to poor indoor air quality. Essential oils might be a sweet-smelling alternative.
- Research environmentally friendly, nontoxic household cleaners instead of harmful cleaners. “Clean” does not need to smell like chemicals.
- New furniture, flooring, and paint off-gas chemicals called VOCs, and need lots of ventilation over an extended period of time. Be sure and open doors/windows to release those gases and fill your home with fresh air.
Have Questions About Your HVAC System?
Not sure where to start with improving your HVAC system efficiency? Northwind Air Conditioning and Heat can help you with your indoor air quality needs. Contact us and get the answers you need.