Children are among the most sensitive and vulnerable when it comes to allergies, illnesses, and pollutants, so it’s important to consider how environment affects their health. An HVAC system can help support a child’s health by ventilating and filtering the air. Here are several ways an HVAC system helps promote healthy children.
Indoor Air Quality Impact
Image via Flickr by Richard Leeming
Indoor air quality or IAQ is one of the main things that impacts your child’s health overall. This is due in part to lung development. Children’s lungs are not fully developed until they become teenagers so they’re more susceptible to the effects of poor air quality like colds, the flu, and allergies. It can also impact brain function and the ability to learn.
The first step in combating poor indoor air quality is to have an HVAC professional come out to service your system. Ask them to assess the current IAQ and what you can do to improve it for your children.
Filters and MERV Ratings
Once your HVAC technician comes out to service the system, one thing they may do is change your system’s filters or ask when they were changed last. The air filter in your HVAC system should have a high MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is a measure of how effective your air filter actually is. Ratings for filters range between 1 and 16, and the higher the rating is, the fewer particles can pass through it. It prevents things like carpet fibers, pollen, bacteria, dust, and pet dander from getting into the air.
Filters with higher ratings are not better just because they’re higher. The rating actually has to complement your system’s airflow. If the filter is too highly rated, it reduces airflow, worsens air quality, and increases pressure on the fan in your furnace or AC system. MERV filters are also sized differently than a regular air filter so the cost is higher.
Improve the Air
In addition to having air filters, changing them every three months, and having your HVAC serviced at regular intervals, you can add an air purifier to the HVAC system. It is more common for manufacturers to allow for purifiers to be added to the HVAC systems today. If one can be added, the HVAC technician will install it and add a vent on the wall. Air passes through this vent and traps dust and allergens. Older systems may not allow for this type of installation and if that is the case, consider whether installing a newer system is right for your family.
Another way to improve your home air quality for your children is to keep the house clean by vacuuming regularly to get rid of dust, pet dander, and other allergens. Cleaning your HVAC vents routinely also helps maintain air quality and helps your children breathe easier.
Keeping your child healthy is a challenge. Your HVAC system can help make this process easier with regularly scheduled maintenance, proper filters, and an air purifier. Consult your HVAC professional for more ways to improve your indoor air quality.