Allergies and Your Air Conditioner

For many people suffering with allergies, their air conditioning units may be the culprit for those hazy sinus’. Often times, homeowners believe that the air filters in our furnaces and air conditioners remove dust and allergens from the air we breath. When in reality, HVAC filters were not designed with that in mind.

HVAC filters were actually designed to keep dust out of the equipment itself and to protect the unit from damage to keep it running effectively. While HVAC filters do help to remove some dust from the air when changed often , they do little to trap the microscopic particles that cause all of that sneezing and wheezing of allergy season.

Those white paper filters that are often purchased for HVAC units are designed to trap large particles of dust  to protect the motor and fans .Other harmful particles like mold, bacteria, and certain types of pollen are so tiny that they slip right through the fibers of those regular filters.

What does that mean for air quality? It means that those allergens get circulated through your ductwork and blown back into your space through traditional HVAC units. There are simple fixes to this common problem, such as allergen filters or more commonly, HEPA filters. These filters have smaller woven fibers to trap smaller particles, however this option cannot guarantee that those particles are not coming into your air space.

Using the right air filters for allergies may help to reduce the allergens in the air, but regular air conditioning maintenance and cleaning is even more important with HEPA filters. If you haven’t had your air conditioning system maintained at least once every year, your system likely has high levels of buildup on the blower fans and in your ductwork.

Each day, the air you breathe is cycled through your HVAC systen 5-7 times. each day? Right now, there could be a year’s worth of dust, pollen and even mold spores are sitting in on your equipment and inside your duct work.

Investing in HVAC maintenance will not only save your equipment, it will create a cleaner, more comfortable environment in your home or office.


COOL SMART QIV Rebates Are Waiting For You!

In my last post, I discussed the COOL SMART Quality Installation Verification (QIV) process, and what it means for you – the consumer. In addition to earning an easy $500 rebate, as a certified QIV contractor, Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating can save you money on operational and maintenance costs over the lifetime of your qualified, ENERGY STAR-compliant central air conditioning system.

Using an incorrectly charged air conditioning unit can set you up for some serious problems, including inefficient operation and compressor damage. But that’s not the only thing the QIV process corrects at the time of installation. Ensuring proper air flow helps maintain the comfort of your home while your air conditioning system is on, and reduces the amount of time your system needs to operate to keep your home cool.

When the unit’s airflow exceeds its design limits, the unit cannot condense humidity from the air properly, leaving your home with a cold, “clammy” feeling. Overly humid conditions can also promote mold and mildew growth in your living space and ductwork. For people with respiratory conditions, chronic exposure to cold, moist air can cause significant discomfort and can aggravate respiratory, sinus and allergy problems.

Low airflow can be just as problematic. When your system does not generate enough airflow, it consumes more energy because your air conditioning unit has to work harder to cool your home. According to studies, 7 out of 10 residential air conditioning units suffer from airflow that is lower than the system’s operational standards. The average low-airflow unit operates with 20% lower air flow than it is designed to, and that translates into higher energy consumption, lower unit efficiency, higher maintenance costs and an overall lower satisfaction level with the system.

While overcharge or undercharge conditions can be corrected at the unit itself, airflow problems can be caused by improperly sealed or installed ductwork. Making sure that your new air conditioning unit works properly with your home’s ductwork may increase the cost of the installation, but it will generally pay for itself quickly in the form of reduced energy costs. That’s because correcting problems with your ductwork will reduce cooling costs in the summer, but it will also help you conserve energy in the winter, when your home’s furnace – which uses the same ducts – works to keep your home warm and comfortable.

In addition to being QIV certified, installers at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating are also NATE-certified and can help you make your home safer and more energy-efficient through proper installation, insulation, inspections and safety checks on your major heating and cooling equipment.
If you’d like to take advantage of the COOL SMART QIV installation rebate, or would like more information about qualified COOL SMART air conditioning products, please give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We’ll set up a consultation and help you take advantage of this and other rebate programs!