At Central Air Heating & Cooling, we specialize in keeping area homes comfortable throughout the year. While most people think of us for getting their homes to the right temperature, we also know the importance of maintaining the quality of the air. Our indoor air quality systems will remove impurities and help you and your family breathe a little easier.
Dealing with Microscopic Impurities
In most homes, people measure their air quality by what they can see. On a sunny day, you will notice particles of dust floating around the air. These visible impurities include substances like pollen grains, dander, and pet hair. Doing some extra housework and upgrading your HVAC filter can help get these contaminants under control.
Microscopic impurities are another story. In this category, you will find microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, and mold spores. All of these tiny creatures can make your home a less healthy place to live.
Unfortunately, physical filters are not a feasible solution to microorganisms in your air. Viruses are extremely small, less than 0.1 microns, and they can find their way through a HEPA filter.
Also, most home comfort systems are not designed with the power to pull air through a strong filter. As filters become more effective, it takes more work to draw air into the system. Putting a HEPA filter on a standard system will overwork the equipment and shorten its life.
How Microorganisms Spread
A single microorganism is not much of a threat by itself. You will come in contact with millions of viruses and bacteria over your lifetime. The danger is what happens when an organism finds a safe place to multiply.
Mold spores require a moist environment. When a spore lands in an unventilated bathroom or damp basement, it will find the resources it needs to reproduce. Left alone, it will grow into a colony, release more spores and create an unhealthy environment.
Viruses are much the same. When they make their way into a host, they turn some of the host’s cells into factories for replication. The cold symptoms you experience from common viruses are signs your body is trying to fight off the infection.
Ultraviolet Light and Microorganisms
Physical filters are not the answer to microscopic organisms in your air. However, your HVAC system can be part of the solution. When your equipment runs, there is a steady flow of air circulating through your home. A UV lamp installed as part of your indoor air quality system can address viruses and bacteria.
The right frequency of UV light has been shown to render microorganisms harmless. Hospitals use this type of technology as an additional means of sanitizing rooms, surfaces, and medical equipment. Some departments use UV storage chambers that can prevent the contamination of sterilized tools.
UV-C light does not destroy the microorganism. Instead, light with a frequency of around 250 nanometers damages the genetic code of the organic impurity. When a virus or bacteria cannot replicate, it cannot infect a host.
Cold and flu viruses often travel in droplets sneezed or coughed out by an infected person. This means of spreading is a reason that when one family member is sick, the rest will soon follow. A UV lamp can interrupt this cycle. When these droplets pass through the UV lamp chamber, it stops an infection before it spreads to others. Of course, standing in the splash zone of an infected person’s sneeze can still make you sick, but you can worry less about viral and bacterial infections lingering in your air.
Additional Considerations around UV Lamps
Ultraviolet lamps are helpful tools in reducing microorganisms in your home. However, they will make running your system cost a bit more. Some systems will only turn on the lights when air is moving. However, in most cases, the lights will be on at all times. This setup will add cost to your utility bill. You will also need to replace the bulbs about once a year.
Prolonged exposure to UV-C light can damage your eyes and skin. It is best to let professionals like the technicians at Central Air handle the installation and maintenance of the light fixture.
Your Partner in Home Comfort
Central Air Heating & Cooling is ready to help you with the heating, cooling, and indoor air quality needs of your Clackamas home. Our team also works with specialized systems such as home water heaters and connected home programs. Contact Central Air Heating & Cooling for more information.