Some people may be surprised to know that the Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the quality of indoor air is 70% more polluted than the air outdoors. To make matters worse, studies also showed that the average American spends almost 90% of their time inside.This means people are exposed to potentially harmful air conditions for most of their lives. This increases the risk of contracting a variety of diseases from indoor air pollutants, especially for people who are especially susceptible. The EPA categorizes poor indoor air quality as one of the top five public health risks for the American public. Speak to HVAC contractors in Sacramento now to ensure the quality of your air is up to health standards.
There are ways to improve your air quality. Changing your air filter regularly can make a big difference in not only air quality, but the cost of running your air conditioning unit. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (or HVAC) systems have air filters that collect whatever air particles it can as the air is being conditioned. Having an old, dirty filter means having a filter that can’t clean the air and that may clog the system, forcing the air conditioning unit to work harder to provide your home with conditioned air (warm or cool). These filters should be changed even before they get dirty – new filters should be installed in frequent intervals. During the months the HVAC system is working the hardest, such as in the summer and winter months, they should be check and replaced more frequently.
Checking and replacing an air filter monthly is a good rule of thumb. Definitely don’t go longer than three months without checking on your filter. Contact HVAC contractors in Sacramento if you need help changing your air filter.
Potential Dangers of Dirty Air Filters
The airborne pathogens in a home are invisible to the naked eye, but could cause serious harm to inhabitants. There are over 900 chemicals, particles, and biological materials in the air circulating in a typical home. Many of these could negatively affect the health of the people breathing this air. The following list contains information about the health risks of poor air quality and those that may be especially susceptible.
- When shopping for filters, take a look at the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) number on the packaging. These numbers range from 1 to 12 with higher numbers indicating better filtration.
- Get an HVAC tuneup and regular maintenance, especially at the start of winter and summer seasons. Licensed HVAC contractors in Sacramento can investigate the health of your unit by checking electrical connections, looking for fire hazards and carbon monoxide, and calibrating the thermostat.
- Change filters based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Once a month is a good rule of thumb, checking more frequently during periods with more extreme weather.
Illnesses that may arise from airborne pathogens:
- Heart disease
- Lung cancer
Airborne particles that may cause health problems:
• Carbon monoxide
• Paint particles
• Watery eyes
• Eye irritation
• Muscle pain
• Trouble breathing
• Other respiratory problems
• Lung cancer
• Fever or chills
• Hearing loss
• Nose bleeds
More Reasons To Change Your Air Filter Regularly
As if more reason was needed besides your health and the health of your family, changing your air filter frequently can have other benefits as well:
- Extends the life of your HVAC unit – a dirty filter is the most common reason a heating and air conditioning system breaks down. The system gets clogged and can overheat as dirt accumulates.
- Lowers energy costs – dirty air filters have to work harder to pass conditioned air through. This means more energy is required to do the normal job of an HVAC unit, resulting in higher energy bills. The Department of Energy explains that the average household spends about $2200 a year on its energy costs. Consistently changing an air filter can decrease these costs by 5 to 15 percent.
- Saves the environment – using more energy doesn’t only increase costs for the household – it increases how much energy must be generated. This means more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are released in the process of producing this extra energy.