The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is a growing health risk for Americans. You often must deal with hot and humid summers and intense allergy seasons in Missouri. Many people spend most of their time indoors, where the concentration levels of pollutants and contaminants can be even worse. Let’s explore some strategies to help you breathe easier this summer.

Perform an Energy Audit

Consider scheduling a home energy assessment that includes IAQ testing. The IAQ test will reveal which air quality issues you’re dealing with. The energy audit can also reveal ventilation issues. You may need mechanical ventilation in a newer home with a tight building envelope, or you may have too much natural ventilation in an older home with a loose seal. Pollution can enter your home through cracks in walls and gaps around windows and doors. Poor insulation can also be an issue.

Dust Deep and Often

Dust is the number one contributor to indoor air pollution. It’s an allergen and an amalgamation that absorbs other pollutants and extends their lifespans. The EPA recommends deep dusting your home at least once a week. Try using a microfiber duster to dust rooms from top to bottom. Then, vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or bag. Vacuum carpets, rugs, floors, and furnishings.

Consider Upgrading Your HVAC Filter

All HVAC systems have at least one air filter that protects the system and helps to improve IAQ. Most filters have a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating, which indicates filter effectiveness. The higher the rating, the better the filtration. Most modern HVAC systems support up to MERV 13. A MERV 13 filter will trap allergens, such as:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Mold spores

Keep Your HVAC Filter Clean

It’s also important to swap out or clean your HVAC filters before they clog and become less effective. For central systems, check the filter once a month and replace the old filter as needed. Mini-splits typically have washable filters. Check them every two weeks, wash them as needed, and replace them once a year.

Schedule a Spring HVAC Tune-Up

Schedule seasonal maintenance in spring before you need to run your air conditioner. During this appointment, your HVAC technician will clean all your equipment. Less dust in the system means less dust in the air. Cleaning the evaporator coil is particularly important as it can negatively affect IAQ due to biological growth.

Book a Duct Inspection

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends an annual video duct inspection. The EPA encourages you to clean your ducts as needed. Dust builds up in your ducts over time and may cause foul smells and other IAQ issues. An inspection may also reveal worn seals, which not only affect IAQ but also increase energy costs.

Run an Air Purifier

The best way to improve your IAQ this summer is to install a whole-house air purifier. A wide range of options exist for homes with ducted and ductless HVAC systems. Many of these systems have a large, dense HEPA filter that traps practically all allergens. Activated carbon filtration is also standard. It absorbs terrible odors, gases, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and airborne chemicals. You can also opt for ultraviolet (UV) filtration. It uses a germicidal light to neutralize germs and viruses.

Enhance Comfort With Dehumidification

The EPA warns against letting your home get above 60% relative humidity (RH). A high RH makes it more difficult to breathe. It also increases the risk of mold and dust mites in the home and negatively impacts IAQ. According to the EPA, the optimal RH is between 30% and 50%. Achieving that through AC alone can be difficult. The industry recommendation is to install a whole-house dehumidifier. In the meantime, you can opt for portable dehumidifiers. They won’t deliver optimal RH throughout your entire home but will at least improve IAQ in your immediate space.

Do You Need Help Improving Your IAQ in Missouri?

Swiss Air Heating & Cooling, LLC has been helping homeowners in the O’Fallon area breathe easier since 1989. Our company sells and installs HVAC filters, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, and ventilation fans. Our NATE-certified HVAC technicians specialize in furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, mini-splits, and smart thermostats. We also have plumbers specializing in tank and tankless water heaters, filtration, and softening systems. Contact us today with questions about these products and services or to schedule an appointment.

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