The worst of the summer is over, but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be running our air conditioning in Phoenix, AZ for at least another month. Through all the time that your air conditioner was running, however, it was inhaling dust and dirt. While some of this gets captured by the air filter, a lot more of it ends up inside your home. Here’s what you can do about it:
Clean Your Ducts
As stated above, some of the Arizona dust can find its way into your home and into your HVAC system. It’s not a bad idea to have your system cleaned out after several months of this, especially if you have members of the family who are sensitive to allergies and asthma attacks.
While that kind of cleaning is good once every year, there are a few cases where you’d want to get a cleaning done sooner:
- High Volume of Contaminants: Is there a noticeable amount of pet hair and other debris in your air? Are the allergy symptoms not getting any better? If particles are floating through your air with no sign of letting up, no matter how much you’ve cleaned, it could be worth checking the ducts.
- Mold: Any mold or mildew that’s plainly visible is a cause for cleaning. Mold in your air circulation is a big problem, even for families without allergies.
- Pests: If your home and ductwork have recently been invaded by an animal infestation, having your ducts cleaned is a high priority.
While annual cleaning has its benefits and is good for preventing the buildup of dust and debris, it’s only one part of the indoor air quality equation. You can also go some lengths to reduce the number of harmful particles that enter your air circulation in the first place.
To do that, you’ll need to look at some air cleaners, which come in two varieties: filters and purifiers.
Your AC already has its own filter, but it doesn’t account for your home’s indoor air quality. The concept is the same, however. The filter allows air to pass through it, but any particles that are too large will become trapped. Dust, pollen, and dander are perfect for these filters. Higher-rating filters exist, but it’s important not to get too fine, as this can make your AC run inefficiently.
Purifiers use electricity and ionization to separate smaller particles from the airflow, making them ideal for removing smoke, gas, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A mechanical filter will be unable to efficiently remove these contaminants.
However, a normal air purifier doesn’t account for living contaminants, such as mold, bacteria, and viruses. For this, you’ll need a UV germicidal light. UV lights can kill up to 99.9% of microorganisms, and they remain switched ON in your HVAC system 24/7. They’ll last you about a full year before needing replacement.