HVAC systems keep circulating the air by drawing in air, conditioning it and then spewing it out through the vents. Sometimes you may get a moldy odor or you may find that the air smells like dirty socks or you may even feel that breathing the air is difficult. This could be due to a number of factors. Persistent deterioration in air quality could classify the building as a sick building because the bad air could be the cause of sickness in the building. But you need not worry because there are ways to improve indoor air with HVAC systems.
Buildings which have HVAC systems are usually buildings that have good quality air but consistent use of the system along with poor maintenance of the HVAC unit could lead to poor air quality. This can be rectified by hiring a professional HVAC technician to look into the matter. A professional HVAC technician will first check the air quality with an indoor air quality meter and note down the results. Then he will perform the following tasks:
- The most important reason for the air in a building to become stale or unfit for breathing is due to the air filter not performing its task properly. The task of the air filter is to filter out dust, pollen, pet dander etc when the system sucks in air. But when the air filter is completely caked with dust or if the air filter is damaged then the dust will get pulled in to the HVAC system and you will be breathing dirty air. The HVAC technician will clean the air filters thoroughly and remount it. If you check the air quality with the air quality meter after the air filter has been cleaned you will find improvement. Sometimes cleaning the air filter is not enough, you need to replace it completely and the HVAC technician will do it if required. There are rating for air filters known as MERV ratings. A MERV rating of 8 or above is considered good and the technician will install the filter with the right rating for your system. A point to note is that the higher the MERV rating the more dust and grime will be caught by the filter.
- Coils can become dirty due to constant usage and can cause air quality problems. The HVAC technician will power clean the coils and this will improve the air quality considerably.
- Even after cleaning the air filters and coils if the air quality has not improved much the problem could be due to the ducts being dirty. Cleaning the ducts completely will ensure good clean air.
- An additional option is to install air purifiers. Air purifiers use UV rays to kill bacteria, mold etc. Once allergy causing germs and bacteria are killed, you will get clean air to breathe. In fact, if you check the air quality before installing an air purifier and after installing one you will find a marked difference.
HVAC systems have been built with the intention of providing good quality air and if you maintain it well you will always breathe good air.