Can AC Maintenance Improve Your Indoor Air Quality?
Most people are excited when the warmer weather hits Washington after the winter. After keeping windows locked up for winter, it is time to air out the house.
However, it is not long before it starts getting warm enough to bring the air conditioning online. Then, the windows all get locked up tight to keep all the cool air inside. After that, it does not take long before indoor air quality comes racing into focus.
You have heard about doing spring maintenance on your air conditioning system. While there are mechanical reasons that make this a good idea, it is also important to help maintain good indoor air quality. Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning offers reliable and affordable air conditioning maintenance options to the Kirkland community and the surrounding Puget Sound area.
Signs You May Have Poor Air Quality
Air quality is important to your health as well as your comfort within your home. Many people ignore signs of poor indoor air quality, thinking they are just a minor annoyance. If you understand what you are experiencing, you will know how to correct it and improve how you feel.
Poor indoor air quality may result in the following symptoms:
- Dry and irritated eyes, mouth, throat, and sinuses
- Shortness of breath
- New or worsening allergies
- Sinus congestion
- Coughing or sneezing
All of these symptoms can be attributed to other things as well. Part of how you can tell if they are caused by air quality is to pay attention to their onset. If you experience them within about 20 minutes of arriving home, you should investigate air quality issues. If you experience dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, blurred vision, or confusion, you should seek immediate help. These could be signs of carbon monoxide in your home, and carbon monoxide is an emergency that needs to be addressed immediately.
In addition to the personal symptoms, you may also notice physical signs around your home. These include:
- Mold and mildew growth
- Unpleasant odors
- Significant dust buildup on surfaces and around vents
- Inconsistent air distribution
- Humidity issues
What Causes Problems With Air Quality?
Most people think that air quality simply refers to smog and major pollutants from vehicles and manufacturing. These may be of concern for outdoor air quality, but inside your home is a whole other ball game.
Major contributors to indoor air quality problems include:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from various chemicals, including cleaners
- Gasses emitted from your furniture, carpets, and even paint
- Dust mites
- Microbial contaminants like fungus, mold, and bacteria
- Carbon dioxide
Part of the problem with indoor air quality is the buildup of these contaminants in the residence due to poor ventilation. This happens in the spring when the weather warms up a little bit and the windows get opened and let in allergens. It also happens while running the ventilation fans in the bathroom and over the stove if the fans have insufficient airflow.
Another cause of indoor air quality problems that comes with significant health risks is leaks in the air conditioning system. These can be small leaks that develop when you activate the air conditioning and are applying pressure to the system as a result. This may cause leaks in weak spots in the system.
The key to your entire HVAC system working effectively is the ability for air to flow unrestricted. In a lot of cases, air quality is affected by a buildup in the system that prevents air from flowing properly. These restrictions can be at the air filter, in the air ducts, or even the indoor evaporator coil or circulating fan.
Airflow restrictions not only cause additional wear on your unit but also cause the air that is forced through the system to pick up additional contaminants. The contaminants that typically settle in these areas of your system include dust, dust mites, and chemical residues from cleaners.
Regular maintenance of your AC system help to reduce the number of contaminants that are being circulated through the air.
What Is AC Maintenance?
Many people shy away from the idea of regular air conditioning maintenance, also known as an AC tune-up. This is usually caused more by not understanding what is included and why it is important. When done properly, a comprehensive AC tune-up will help to significantly improve your indoor air quality.
We will cover the following in our work:
- Inspect and clean the condenser coils
- Check the refrigerant level
- Inspect the ductwork for contaminant buildup
- Check the condition of the blower motor
- Check the air filters
- Clean the blower motor cage
- Clean the evaporator coils and check for signs of leaks
- Tighten all electrical connections
- Test and calibrate the thermostat to ensure proper function
These are just a few of the components that are inspected, tightened, or adjusted during a normal maintenance visit. The major components that will help to improve your air quality are the evaporator coil inspection, refrigerant level check, air filters, and cleaning the circulating fan and evaporator coil.
How Big of a Difference Will AC Maintenance Make?
The actual improvement to your air quality will depend on several factors, including how long it has been since your last maintenance visit. If you have never had an AC tune-up, then you will typically experience a noticeable improvement. In addition to air quality improvement, you will also see a marked improvement in your system’s performance.
The buildup of dust on the circulating fan alone is a major contributor to airborne allergens in the home. As the fan spins, it releases particles from the buildup into the air and forces it out into the air in your house.
The evaporator coils are notorious for collecting VOCs and chemical residue from cleaners, candles, and more. These then continue to be recirculated into the air as the fan runs.
A leak at the evaporator coil is a major health risk, even if it is a pinhole size. Leaks can be caused by corrosion due to contaminant buildup on the coils. If your AC unit is an older model, it may still be running R22a, which is a major hazard to the ozone layer in addition to being hazardous to your health. The newer R410a refrigerant may be a little easier on the environment but still poses significant risks if leaked indoors.
Reliable AC Maintenance in Kirkland
Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning has been serving the Kirkland and greater Seattle areas for more than 20 years and is a Bryant factory-authorized dealer. In addition to AC maintenance, the team at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning can also handle AC installation and repairs as well as full heating installation, repair, and maintenances. We also provide electrical services and hot water heater services and can assess your property to install a suitable air purification system. All work is completed by professional NATE-certified heating and cooling technicians and licensed plumbers and electricians.