Air Conditioner Annual Maintenance Is the Key to Good Indoor Air Quality

technician testing an AC unitAs a company that provides annual air conditioner maintenance to a wide variety of clients, we know that there is a seemingly endless assortment of air purifiers and high-efficiency filters available on the market. Nearly every air conditioning repair service company is talking about indoor air quality (IAQ). But why is it such a concern? Isn’t it enough to have your air conditioner checked-up and maintained annually (we recommend twice a year in South Florida)?

INDOOR POLLUTION IS A FACT 

The Environmental Protection Agency says even in the most polluted cities, indoor air is often more polluted than outdoors. They particularly warn about the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and particulates, biologicals from pets and mildew, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Your home air conditioner is engineered to improve the temperature and humidity conditions in the home. Common filters will remove much of the dust. But, all the other items of concern must also be removed.

YOUR HOME MUST BREATHE 

Ventilation was never a problem in old Florida homes. Jalousie and awning windows allowed the air in the home to be replaced naturally several times per hour. Newer homes have been built tighter to conserve energy. The same construction methods designed to eliminate leaks also keep the home from ‘breathing’. New building codes requiring testing and mechanical ventilation fans, but many homes built over the past 30 years tend to collect more pollution than they remove.

ALLERGIES AND ILLNESS 

Chemicals, particulates, and biologicals that frequent our homes are concentrated in homes that have poor ventilation. They may be harmful to your health, and according to the EPA can mimic the signs of allergies. The effect of annual AC maintenance on such pollutants is only minimal. It is essential that you work with your air conditioning repair service company to establish an intentional plan for improved indoor air quality.

VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCS) 

Formaldehyde, pesticides, solvents, and cleaning agents are of particular concern. They enter our homes in the form of furnishings and carpets. We bring them in to ward off pests and to clean our floors and countertops. Some (particularly formaldehyde) are known or suspected carcinogens. Others cause irritation of the sensitive membranes in the nose and throat, skin reactions, breathing difficulties, fatigue, and dizziness.

Even the best air conditioners and filters are not designed to remove VOCs. When they visit your home for air conditioning annual maintenance, the trained and experienced technicians from Complete Comfort Air Conditioning and Heating air conditioning repair service will make recommendations to reduce the levels of these most hazardous contaminants.

MOISTURE INTRUSION 

In South Florida, the weather report often includes an update on the humidity level. In addition to the very moist air, we must deal with the famous ‘liquid sunshine’ during the rainy season. Your air conditioner is designed to remove humidity. However, it is sometimes not enough because as we all know water moves from a wet place (outdoors) to a dry place (indoors). The constant intrusion of moisture through walls, ceilings, and openings can easily overwhelm your air conditioner.  

Biological growth and mildew can even occur in the best-kept homes and in the best-maintained air conditioning systems. This is particularly true during the rainy season and after a major storm or hurricane, when your home is assaulted day after day by waves of humidity (see our blog post, The Second Storm – Indoor Air Quality). Left unattended, biological growth will impact health and do damage that is costly to repair. In severe cases, moisture can cause equipment to fail prematurely and the owner needs to contact the AC replacement company.

Here is where Complete Comfort Air Conditioning and Heating can help. Our AC repair service technician will find the source of the moisture intrusion. It is important to eliminate intrusion sites and be certain the air conditioner has been properly serviced for optimum moisture removal. Once the source has been addressed, an ultraviolet air purification system is the most likely solution.

DON’T COVER IT UP

There is always the temptation to cover up odors, particularly if it is a musty odor from mildew or a chemical odor. The aerosols and strips used to cover up the odors are simply adding another chemical to further increase the indoor pollution level. Air fresheners are not even an effective short-term solution to indoor pollution. Unfortunately, even when the odor is covered, the underlying health effects remain.

Don’t trust an air conditioning repair service company that says they improved air quality by spraying something on the filter or into the blower unit. The cover-up will not last and will ultimately do more harm than good. Many air freshener sprays are sticky and will cause dust to stick and clog up the filter or stick to the cooling coil and blower. The result is a build-up of smelly dirt that needs to be cleaned at another time.

CALL THE PROFESSIONALS

When our AC service and repair technicians arrive at your home, they will ask about your experiences with indoor air quality issues. The reason is many other companies do not ask these questions. But we understand indoor air quality is among the most vital issues to your family’s health and well-being.

If you have concerns about the air quality in your home, call Complete Comfort Air Conditioning and Heating at (561) 531-5659. Your health and comfort are our priority.  

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