In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more Winston-Salem and Piedmont Triad residents are working from home. As such, the importance of ensuring good indoor air quality has never been more important. Read on to learn more about choosing the best air filtration system for your home.
The EPA reports that when used properly, the air filter in your HVAC system can improve indoor air quality. Air filters can reduce the levels of pollen, pollutants, pet dander, and even viruses. Fortunately, you don’t need to purchase expensive equipment to clean your air.
At Aspire Heating & Cooling, we are here to help you keep your family safe and healthy. One way we do this is by providing and installing HEPA filters in your existing HVAC system. This can turn your unit into a powerful air filtration system.
What Causes Bad Indoor Air Quality?
Unfortunately, it’s a reality that the air you breathe in your home can be 2 -5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Pollution in your home comes from household products that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Common household items that contain VOCs include disinfectants, adhesives, paint, carpet, and wood preservatives.
Fuel-burning combustion appliances and a variety of building materials may also contribute to poor indoor air quality. Additionally, tobacco smoke, pet dander, mold, dead skin cells, and dust lead to poor air quality. Living in an urban area with lots of traffic can also contribute to indoor air quality issues.
In addition, excess moisture in your home leads to the growth of mold which is also a known pollutant. Moreover, radon, pesticides, and deteriorated insulation which contains asbestos can pollute indoor air.
Do HVAC Systems Purify Air?
HVAC systems do not completely purify the air in your home or office. Although, they do reduce pollutants, contaminants, and airborne viruses by filtering the air that you breathe. This is because all systems have some form of an air filter.
Yet, not all air filters are the same. Some air filters will only filter out large particles, while others, such as HEPA filters can trap more than 99.9% of airborne particles.
What is a HEPA Filter?
HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. So, a HEPA filter is a filter capable of trapping 99.97% of particles in the air that are .3 microns. HEPA filters, including those offered by Aspire, are pleated filters. Made of interlaced glass fibers, they are capable of trapping most of the smallest indoor air particles.
HEPA filters have been used since WWII. Originally, factories and laboratories used them to turn their HVAC systems into the strongest air filtration systems available. Over time, the incredible benefits of HEPA filters have made them popular for home HVAC systems, air purifiers, cars, and even vacuum cleaners.
How Much Does an Air Filtration System Cost?
The cost of an air filtration system will vary depending upon the type of filter you use, and the type of HVAC unit you have in your home. Keep in mind, using a HEPA filter in your HVAC unit can help extend the life of your unit. Thus, investing in HEPA filters may save you money in the long run by prolonging the life of your system.
Regular maintenance and care, including twice-yearly HVAC tune-ups, can also contribute to your HVAC system lasting as long as possible. At Aspire, we offer membership plans, which include air filtration system inspection, filter replacement, repairs, and tune-ups. These tune-ups can help prevent breakdowns and ensure good air quality in your home. With our premium plan, you will also save 15% on any necessary repairs if discovered during a tune-up. Membership plans are just $199 for two visits per year.
Exactly How Does a HEPA Filter Improve Indoor Air?
HEPA filters improve indoor air by capturing dust, hair, pet dander, spores, viruses, and more. Designed to “trick” even the most penetrating particles, HEPA filters are very effective. The interlaced glass fibers in a HEPA air filter form a maze of sorts. This maze stops particles in the air in one of a few ways.
Upon impact, it stops large particles just as most filters stop them. But smaller particles may get through standard filters. In a HEPA filter, if particles get through the first layer, there are additional layers to filter them. Likewise, there is even more layering in the filter that act to intercept or diffuse any other particles as they try to progress.
Health Problems Caused by Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor air pollutants may be responsible for various short term health problems including:
- Eye irritation
- Nose irritation
- Throat irritation
Long-term health effects of poor air quality may include:
- Respiratory disease
- Heart disease
Signs That You Need to Change Your HVAC Filter
Generally, you should change your HVAC filter at least every 90 days. Exceptions do apply, such as for those with pets, allergies, or asthma. Other signs you need to change your filter include:
- Excess dust in your home
- Air filter is dirty
- Higher than normal utility bill
- Reduced airflow through vents
- Dirt collecting around vents
- Allergies worsen
Is an Air Filtration System the Same as an Air Purifier?
An air filtration system is not the same as an air purifier. All furnaces, air conditioners, and HVAC systems do have air filters as part of their design. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the air filter you have in your existing home system is keeping your indoor air quality as good as it could be. For maximum air quality inside, consider upgrading your air filtration system to include a HEPA filter.
An air purifier is a stand-alone device that you will need to purchase. It works by capturing and killing contaminants in the air. When you turn on an air purifier, it pulls dirty air from inside your home, and as its name implies, cleans it. After enough circulations, all of the air in the area will have run through the air purifier, capturing airborne particles, including dust, pollen, and other pollutants. An air purifier is not enough to clean an entire house on its own. You may need more than one. Or, use one along with a HEPA filter.
Do I Need an Air Purifier in Addition to My Air Filtration System?
Many experts recommend installing HEPA filters in your home’s HVAC system as your best line of defense against indoor air pollution. You should change HEPA filters every few months to achieve optimal results.
Experts are divided as to whether an air purifier is necessary in addition to using HEPA filters. They may benefit those at risk for cardiovascular disease and those with asthma or severe allergies. So, if you want to use an air purifier as part of your indoor air quality plan, it probably won’t hurt.
Warning About Ozone Generating Air Purifiers
It is important to note, that if you choose to use an air purifier, the EPA specifically warns against using an air purifier that generates ozone. Products that tout ozone as “pure air” or energized oxygen, may actually cause harm to the lungs. In fact, multiple federal agencies, including the FDA and OSHA, established health standards that limit ozone exposure. In other words, use caution when buying an air purifier. Or consider skipping the air purifier and opting for an air scrubber, which can be installed in any air conditioning or heating system.
Tips for Improving Air Quality in Your Home
To improve the air quality in your home, there are a number of steps you can take. Begin by adding a HEPA filter to your HVAC system. Then, remember that adequate ventilation is the best way to improve air quality. As weather permits, open windows, or doors periodically, to let fresh air in.
Regular duct cleaning and sanitizing will also help reduce particles in the air in your home. Most homeowners should schedule a duct cleaning every 3-5 years. If anyone in your family has allergies or asthma, consider having your ducts cleaned more frequently. Aspire Heating & Cooling offers duct cleaning in the Winston-Salem area.
Consider an air-circulating thermostat for days when you’re not running the air conditioning or the heater. Air-circulating thermostats turn on your ac or heater just a little bit each hour. This helps keep the air flowing, without running up your power bill.
Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter on your rugs, carpet, and fabric furniture can also reduce levels of pollutants in your home. Likewise, washing your bedding regularly, and keeping a close eye on humidity in your home can help improve your air quality.
You may choose to go one step further and install an air scrubber. An iWave Air Scrubber is a specific type of air cleaner, that Aspire Heating and Cooling recommends for some households. Feel free to email us to learn more about this amazing air scrubber.
Lastly, be sure to have your HVAC system regularly inspected. Regular maintenance can identify problems early on before they become expensive problems. Regular inspections twice a year will also ensure your unit is working efficiently, and you’re not losing money on expensive utility bills.
When you sign up for the Aspire Heating and Cooling membership plan, you’ll receive 2 visits each year. During the visits, we will clean and inspect your unit. If necessary, we will change your air filter as well. Finally, we will check out all components to ensure proper, efficient function.
HVAC Filters, Air Purifiers, and Coronavirus
The Environmental Protection Agency has made clear that an air filtration system by itself is not enough to protect from coronavirus. However, the agency has stated that “when used along with other best practices recommended by CDC and others, filtration can be part of a plan to reduce the potential for airborne transmission of COVID-19 indoors.”
If you choose to use a portable air cleaner, you should be aware that their design means they only clean the air in the room where the cleaner is located. When in doubt, get the HEPA filter first, then an air cleaner or purifier.
Air Filtration Systems Near Me
Serving greater Winston-Salem, Aspire Heating and Cooling sells and installs HEPA air filters, which convert your HVAC unit into a powerful air filtration system. With offices in Mocksville and Winston Salem, we are happy to serve the Piedmont Triad Area from Advance and Clemmons to Winston-Salem and Lewisville.
We offer financing options for qualified customers. We are proud to have a team of NATE-certified technicians. We’re also enormously proud of our dozens of five-star reviews on Google. We would love to help you improve the air quality inside your home. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about HEPA filters for your home.
Aspire Heating and Cooling is a veteran-owned business offering 24/7 service. We can service your home or commercial property. Our services include tune-ups, repairs, installation, and duct cleaning. We sell UV-lights, air scrubbers, air circulating thermostats, and whole-home humidifiers. Contact us today by calling 336-936-9111. You may also contact us online.