It is Time to Think about Your HVAC as a Home Health System
As our home systems cycle air throughout the house, it pushes dust along with airborne viruses and pollutant particulates from room to room decreasing our Indoor Air Quality and increasing our risk of illness.
In the winter, with the sun’s lower angle, we can see the streams of light piercing the windows and exposing all the dust that is in the air, signaling the risk for potential indoor pollutants.
If we think of our home systems like our bodies, then the HVAC is our lungs drawing in oxygen to provide it to the duct systems that travels throughout our homes. The best air draw comes from the most silent and least intrusive air condition system a homeowner can own. This starts with the Unico System which uses a blower to cycle the air throughout the home. These are the lungs of the house, drawing air in and pushing it out, all the while pushing oxygen into the bloodstream. In order to clean this cycled air and keep the ‘bloodstream’ clean, the home needs several additional methods of sanitation. A total Indoor Air Quality Solution is found starting from the Air Handler and then attaching Air Filters, Humidifiers, UV Lights, and ERVs.
Air filters capture the particles for disposal while UV lights limit the viruses that flow through the air. All the while ERVs bring in fresh outside air so you are constantly, and consistently, diluting the polluted inside air. Finally, humidification plays a large role in a healthy indoor environment. These are key additions since filtration, diluting, and sterilizing the air in the house can lower the risk of respiratory illnesses and all can be added to a Unico System.
At the center of a Home Health System is the Air Handler which is made up of the blower housing module and the fan coil module. They can be configured horizontally or vertically to accommodate smaller spaces like crawl spaces or closets and their modular design lets you further customize the air handler with several options. The blower module within adjusts proper airflow and can be used as ventilation only. This design makes the air handler an intelligent, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly unit.
Air filters can reduce but not eliminate the threat of infection which is why they are only one piece of the Home Health System machine. Selecting the right filter can reduce risk while improving indoor air quality since high efficiency filters can trap particulates in the air. These particulates are culprits in that they can carry airborne threats like the coronavirus and can range from sub-micron (less than 1.0 micron in size) and larger.
When selecting a filter to combat the threat of airborne transmission, Parker suggests a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating of 13 to 16 with higher values meaning the better the filter is at capturing small particles. Parker’s MERV 16 rated filters provide 90% and higher efficiencies, capturing airborne particles that are the size of viruses.
All microscopic organisms require a specific UVC dosage for inactivation and has been in practical use since the 1930s for surgical device purification. General Filters Second Wind Air Purifiers are installed in the home’s HVAC unit or ductwork and disinfect the air as it circulates the ventilation system.
The appropriate relative humidity refers to the difference between outdoor humidity and temperatures and indoor conditions. Absolute humidity is the measure of water vapor (moister) in the air, regardless of temperature while relative humidity is the amount of water vapor present in air expressed as a percentage of the amount needed for saturated at the same temperature. Warm air can hold far more moisture than cold air, therefore, the relative humidity of cold air would be far higher than warm air if the absolute humidity levels were equal. Relative humidity in a house should be around 40 RH and in the winter an untreated house can be 20 RH or lower making for an ideal environment for viruses. It is important to stay in the ideal range of 40 to 60 as too much humidity makes it so that mold and mildew grows while too low humidity makes the air too dry. Dry air is also known to diminish the ability of our lungs to expel viral particles and our immune systems aren’t as effective in dry environments.
Poor indoor air quality is a serious problem and according to the EPA our indoor air is two to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air and is ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. Considering Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, it’s easy to see why this is such a high concern. Poor IAQ causes health problems, reduces productivity, and raises discomfort inside our homes.
Energy Recovery Ventilation is the energy recovery process of exchanging the energy contained in normally exhausted building or space air and using it to treat incoming outdoor ventilation air. Not only is it an effective means of reducing energy costs, but improves the IAQ by bringing in fresh outside air.
Home Health System
As families are in the homes more and more, and as awareness is growing about indoor air quality, homeowners are reducing risks and exploring possible air cleaning and sanitizing solutions. A complete Home Health System can help protect against everything from allergies to viruses. This starts with the Air Handler from Unico and the blower that moves the air throughout the home in addition to proper filtration, sanitation, humidification, and an ERV all lead to a comprehensive Home Health System. A healthy home leads to healthy occupants and Better Living Indoors.