Seasonal allergies are flaring up, and it seems like almost everyone at work has the flu. But did you know that your Tampa AC system might be to blame? Yes, you read that correctly– your air conditioner can actually make you sick, if you’re not working to purify and clean your air.
That’s because your air conditioner is responsible for filtering all of the air inside your home. Even if you have an in-room air purifier (which we’ll discuss later), your AC system is your primary defense against dirty indoor air. And since the air in your home is 2-5 times more polluted than the air outdoors… it’s probably about time you think about your air filtration plan.
How Your Tampa AC System Filters Indoor Air
Did you know that your air conditioner doesn’t actually create cold air? Every time your AC system turns on, air is taken in through the return AKA where your filter is located. It then runs across the evaporator coil, containing super cold refrigerant, which actively removes heat from the air. This new “conditioned” air is then re-released through your vents, giving you cool air!
Note here how your air conditioner is a closed system– the air within your home is continually recycled, passing through the filter in your return each time your AC system turns on. For most homeowners, filtration is limited to this conventional pleated air filter. You know, the one you’re supposed to replace every month… that never ends up getting replaced ??♂️
Now that you know how your system filters the air in your home, you might be starting to see why that air filter is so important. When your air filter becomes really dirty or “impacted,” your system is no longer able to filter out the particulates in the air, making your indoor air polluted. Impacted filters can also cause your AC system to break down or shut off prematurely– because if air can’t get through your dirty filter, then how can it be properly cooled? Below is a picture of a dirty, moldy fan blade, which is a result of poor filtration. Gross! In these situations, preventing a breakdown can be as easy as changing your filter regularly. We recommend setting a monthly reminder in your digital calendar, so you get notified when it’s time to replace your filter!
How Does Poor Filtration Affect Your Health?
We all know that polluted air is bad– that’s why people in polluted cities around the world wear face masks. But the air in your home is often more polluted than the air outdoors, so if you’re not working to keep it clean and fresh, then you’re subjecting yourself to gross, dirty air full of VOC’s, allergens, and harmful particulates. These things have been proven to degrade your health and make you more prone to certain types of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, lung disease, and even cancer.
Does that scare you? We hope it does!
Not only can poor indoor air quality make you sick, but it can also make you sicker. If your air isn’t being properly filtered, you are much more likely to suffer from bad allergies, as a result of pet dander, dust, and many other particulates. So if you can’t seem to stop sneezing every time you’re at home, it might be time to look into better filtration options.
You are also more prone to prolonged sickness, as you aren’t getting the clean air you need to recover from short-term illness, like a cold or the flu. Plus, you’re much more likely to pass that illness to a family member in a home with poor indoor air quality! And there’s nothing worse than an entire family that’s sick with the same thing.
How To Stay Healthy With Proper Filtration
While achieving great indoor air quality is a multi-step process, we recommend starting with filtration, especially if you notice lots of dust or pet hair in your home. We believe in active filtration systems, such as electronic air cleaners, which are both more effective (think 98% instead of 2%) and easier to maintain than passive filters. Your conventional pleated air filter (see dirty versions of this above) is an example of a passive filter, which works simply by trapping particulates within the fabric of the filter. However, this type of filter, regardless of how thick it is or what it’s made of, can only capture particulates 1 micron in size or larger. These particulates make up only 2% of the total particulates in the air… leaving a lot of room for allergens to affect your IAQ.
Meanwhile, electronic air cleaners work through active filtration, which means they can remove smaller particulates by attracting them electronically. This type of filtration does not restrict air flow in any way, which improves system performance. Electronic air cleaners are also 98% effective, as they can filter out particulates as small as .03 microns in size. AKA if you’re looking for the best filtration system out there, this is your best bet.
Above all, do NOT get heavy pleated filters, which are typically four inches thick and made of the same material as their thinner counterparts. These thick filters are expensive, ineffective, and require a lot of maintenance. Plus, they restrict air flow and make your AC system work harder to do its job. Forgetting to replace one of these thick filters can lead to a system breakdown FAST… and no one wants that!
Of course, filtration is just the start of achieving great indoor air quality. We also recommend PCO lights if you’re looking to remove airborne bacteria and VOC’s. Want more information on IAQ? Book an appointment with us here!