How healthy is the air in your home? It’s not something we generally think about but it’s a big deal – we spend as much as 90% of our time indoors! For all we know, anything could be lurking unseen in our living spaces, while we unknowingly inhale them day in and day out. ‘Everyday pollutants’ can contaminate indoor air quality and cause all sorts of health problems.
Some important steps towards healthier living environments include:
- Improving indoor ventilation (windows to let in clean air when the air conditioner is turned off);
- Seal off air leaks throughout the home. A good example of this is exhaust fans in laundries & bathrooms which allow your ducted air conditioner to suck hot air from your roof space (this can increase your running costs by up to 30%);
- Reducing the use of carpets, rugs, curtains and other types of soft furnishings (these are magnets for dust, germs and bacteria);
- Cutting down on the usage of candles and wood fires and never smoking indoors;
- Using whole-home air purifiers in your ducted air conditioning system to inhibit and remove indoor air pollutants.
What is the Indoor Air Pollution Problem?
Air purification is now becoming an important need as our homes continue to face pollutants like dust and smoke. Organic pollutants like mould and dust mites are very common. Then we have pollens that are capable of causing allergies. We also have chemical off-gassing from furniture, carpets as well as adhesives and other building materials. On top of that, some airborne viruses and bacteria travel especially fast in air-conditioned environments.
Our indoor air quality is also affected adversely by tobacco smoke, CO2 and bushfires. In November 2019, the air quality index in Brisbane dropped to the worst levels ever recorded in the area (termed as Very Poor by the index), followed by an advisory to stay indoors. With Eastern Australia being one of the world’s most fire-prone regions, we have a potential situation to worry about all year round. For all these reasons like dust, pollen, viruses, bacteria, tobacco smoke and smoke coming from heaters, kitchen stoves and fireplaces, it is important why you should be looking for a reliable air purification solution at home.
The problem with ensuring maximum indoor air quality is that there is neither a simple nor a single way to keep the air in our homes clean and fresh throughout the day. We know that every home is different and needs different air purification systems to keep dangerous pollutants and pathogens at bay. So what are some of the best available solutions to purify the air we breathe daily at homes? Let’s have a look at them one by one.
Home air purifiers are standalone devices that are designed specifically to filter out air pollutants like pollen, dust, bacteria and mould. While home air purifiers with HEPA filters are said to be the best options for air purification against smoke, those with ionization features are also found to be immensely effective.
The major difference between the two methods is those home air purifiers equipped with HEPA, which stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, trap the pollutants in its filters while the ionization method releases ions in the air that can trap or neutralize pollutants including bacteria, dust and pollen. However, one catch with HEPA-based purifiers is that they work well when the level of airflow is low, which means that they will not be very effective in a room where air conditioners are working as they generate high levels of airflow.
That is where home air purifiers with an ionization feature come into the picture. While these home air purifiers can be effective with higher volumes of airflow, their stand-alone units can be very expensive and cost as much or more than the split air conditioner in your room. This means they will also be consuming separate energy on their own. Hence, these are some of the important factors you should be looking at when buying a home air purifier.
Can the air conditioner work as a home air purifier? Is there any particular type of air cooling system that helps homeowners keep indoor air clean and fresh?
Well, most air conditioners are not designed to have built-in air purification capabilities that can filter pollutants such as those resulting from bushfires in Australia. However, some air conditioner models have air purification functionality included too such as Panasonic’s nanoe™X feature.
One thing we need to learn first is that even though all the air conditioners do have a dust filter installed in the indoor unit, it is not designed to purify the air in the room by default. Instead, they act as a wall against dust particles that may clog the air conditioner’s inner functions, thus hampering its overall performance. Therefore, while a simple air conditioner may be effective to a certain extent, especially with dust and pollen, they would not perform as well as dedicated air purifiers when it comes to filtering smoke. They, however, provide better air quality than in a case where neither a purifier nor an air conditioner is used.
Air conditioners with built-in ionization features can work as a home air purifier too. Companies like Panasonic have ducted air conditioner models featuring built-in ionization.
Installing Air Purifier in Air Conditioners
So can you install home air purifiers on top of your existing air conditioners to avoid giving away extra room space and a separate electricity load? The answer is yes!
Home air purifiers can also be installed on top of your existing air conditioning unit, especially if it is a ducted reverse cycle cooling system. This means that you will neither have to allocate separate space in your room for an extra device, nor you may have to assign separate power consumption, yet you will be able to apply the air purification feature in your existing cooling setup.
In the case of a ducted reverse cycle air conditioning system, you can have a single home air purifier, such as the HALO-LED ™ Whole Home In-Duct Air Purifier that is available at Smarter Air, and it will be able to purify the air in your entire homestead. In this way, you can take true advantage of air purification in a ducted cooling system that covers the entire living space. And while at Smarter Air we recommend using ducted air conditioning over other options like split air-conditioning, home air purifiers can also be installed on top of split air conditioners. Nevertheless, you need to be careful about compatibility and warranty applications when choosing an air purifier for your split air conditioner.
In both cases, the process of air purification is more or less the same. Ions are released in the air, that help neutralize pollutant particles and thus you can enjoy air quality that is free from bacteria, dust and pollen up to 99%. As mentioned earlier, these products can also be helpful against smoke problems in Brisbane and surrounding areas.
A Few Points to Remember
Like most cooling devices, some forms of home air purifiers will need regular maintenance, cleaning, and at times replacement as well however the HALO-LED ™ Whole Home In-Duct Air Purifier is maintenance-free for up to 4.5 years! You will need to study the accompanying manual or instructions that come with your chosen air purifier to keep it in the best condition for years to come.
Home Air Purifiers for Healthy Indoors
As homeowners, we seldom stop to consider how air quality can have a profound effect on our health, happiness and lifestyle choices. There are many causes of bad indoor air quality, including fumes, mildew, mould, dust mites, house paint and whatnot. Health symptoms such as allergies, respiratory diseases and even headaches and tiredness have been directly linked with the indoor air quality in our homes. Opting for home air purifiers and ducted air conditioning cooling and heating systems can help residents of Brisbane and Queensland considerably improve the health of their home environments.
In essence, whole-home air purifiers can serve as a very good solution against indoor pollutants that may include microorganisms, dust, pollens and chemical off-gassing. Other factors, such as smoke that may come from tobacco use or traffic exhausts and polluted atmosphere in the city caused by incidents like bushfires can also contaminate the indoor air quality in homes.
Therefore, to protect your family and loved ones, a whole-home air purification system can serve as a viable product that helps cleanse the air we breathe. Please feel free to contact us at Smarter Air for a solution that is best suited for your unique needs and requirements. And while the products mentioned here help improve the air quality at home, they can also be used equally effectively in workplaces.
Address the Air Pollution in Your Home Today!
If reading this article, you are probably concerned about the health risks associated with poor indoor air quality in your home. Think about it like this – It is recommended that adults drink up to 4 litres of water per day, most people will choose to drink bottled or filtered water vs tap because they believe it’s healthier…now consider the average person breathes 18kg of air every day, isn’t it worth considering your family’s health & getting your indoor air quality sorted?
Talk to the indoor air quality experts at Smarter Air for advice & suggestions on how you can improve the air quality in your home.