HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) is a technology designed to provide comfort and air quality to indoor environments. HVAC systems are a very important part of both residential and commercial structures. Family homes, office buildings, hospitals, and industrial halls all use various HVAC systems.
Why Is Air Quality Important?
That’s a great question. The quality of your indoor air is critical for your health. The majority of people spend more time indoors than outdoors, I mean, who really has time to lounge outside on their rattan sofa. At home, at the office, in stores, and so on. This is also where most air pollutants are found in higher concentrations. From secondhand smoke to various volatile organic compounds (VOCs), these air pollutants are responsible for headaches, lung disease, allergies, and even cancer.
Clean air has been shown to prevent many health hazards, the most important being asthma. Better air quality means less chance for you or your family to develop asthma or other lung diseases.
The most common indoor air pollutants are:
Secondhand smoke – smokers aren’t just damaging their own health. They’re damaging the health of others as well. Secondhand smoke can worsen the symptoms of asthma patients, increase the risk for children to develop various infections, and can cause cancer.
Volatile organic compounds – these can be found in various products that you use on a regular basis: insect repellents, hobby supplies, paints and paint thinners, etc. The compounds released in the air when using these products can have a negative impact on your health.
Radon – the second leading cause of lung cancer, radon is a gas pollutant that enters your home through cracks or crevices that are improperly sealed. Radon rich soils can be found in most countries, meaning that you need to take precautions against radon, regardless of where you are.
Choosing The Right HVAC System
Whether you’re in the office or at home, air quality should be your biggest concern. Choosing the right HVAC system can be quite the hassle. Especially if you don’t really know what to look for. Opting for a system that’s cheaper might seem like a good first step. Unfortunately, in most cases, cheaper means less effective and efficiency is key when it comes to HVAC systems.
A well-integrated system can easily control the moisture levels of the indoor area, reduce the number of contaminants in the air, and provide adequate ventilation and filtration for each room. While it’s recommended to ask for the advice of an expert, here are a few pointers to make it easier for you to decide on the right system.
While HVAC means a combination of the 3 processes, you can also opt for a system that performs a single one. You’re not necessarily making a compromise, as you can combine individual systems together. To choose the right system you need to know the size of your home or office and its needs in terms of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
Heating – these systems are specifically designed to generate and distribute heat inside the building. Boilers, furnaces, or heat pumps can be effectively used for this purpose. Heat can be generated indoors through hot steam, water, or air. The danger you need to know is that burning fuel can lead to incomplete combustion. This further leads to the formation of VOCs and other dangerous compounds.
Ventilation – every indoor area must have proper ventilation. This is achieved through circulating fresh air from the outside and stagnant air from the inside. This brings several advantages, including the removal of unwanted odors and bacteria, temperature and humidity control, and oxygen replenishment. In addition, a good ventilation system also recirculates the air inside the building. Choose a ventilation system that also offers great filtration in order to be able to combat the effects of burnt fuel caused by the heating system.
Air Conditioning – temperature control is essential in indoor areas. Various things generate heat indoors: the outside weather if the windows are open, a large group of people, various pieces of equipment, and so on. Controlling the temperature with the right air conditioning system is a must. Convection, radiation, or conduction is used to achieve the heat exchange needed to cool indoor areas.
Residential HVAC Considerations
Most homes will already have an HVAC system installed when you buy them. If you’ve just moved it, it is a good idea to check the system for its: type, age, and performance levels. Depending on these aspects, you can assess the financial burden a reparation or replacement would cause. Here is what you should consider in each case:
Repairing – the newer the system, the more likely you’ll be to opt to repair it. As a general idea, if the cost of repairs is less than half of what it would take to replace it, it’s worth going for it. Besides age, look at performance, inconsistencies in temperature and humidity, and too much noise. All of these are factors worth considering.
Replacing – if the system you’re looking at is more than 10 years old, you’ll probably be better off replacing it rather than repairing it. Older systems tend to cost more to repair than newer ones, due to various factors such as obsolete technology and hardware used. Something else to keep in mind is that older systems are less energy efficient and might end up costing you more in the long run.
Commercial HVAC Considerations
It’s not just homeowners that need to invest in HVAC repairs or replacements. Owners of office buildings have the same responsibility for their tenants. Proper heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are one of the requirements that need to be met in order for a building to be declared safe to hold office spaces.