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If you and your family have been spending more and more time indoors, it’s understandable if you’re worried about indoor air pollution. The air circulating throughout your home could be contaminated with various pollutants, including dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and pollen — among many others.

So, does your air conditioner help improve indoor air quality? We’ll discuss the answer to this question in detail below.

Do Air Conditioners Improve Air Quality?

It’s no secret that the air conditioning system in your home provides some much-needed comfort — especially when temperatures soar to record highs. These units have also become more and more advanced over the years, boasting many energy efficiency benefits. If you’ve recently upgraded your unit, you might be asking: “Do air conditioners improve air quality?”

Believe it or not, the answer to this question is no. Air conditioners can’t inherently purify or clean the air inside your home. These cooling systems have one main job: remove heat from the air. During the cooling process, the warm air inside your home is sucked into the air handler. Once inside this air handler, the evaporator coils and refrigerant strip the air of its heat.

After the heat has been removed, the cool air is then sent back out into your home via air ducts. The leftover hot air is sent to the condenser unit, where it is then released outside.

As you can see, there is never a part during the cooling process where your air conditioner cleans or purifies the air. These cooling systems also never bring outdoor air into your home.

However, the Air Filter You Choose Matters

While the air conditioner itself doesn’t have the ability to improve indoor air quality, the air filter it uses can help filter out different types of airborne pollutants. Most HVAC systems need air filters to remove particles from the air before this air is circulated throughout the home. Keeping this air filter clean can also enhance your air conditioner’s performance and energy efficiency.

So, do air conditioners improve air quality when they have a high-quality air filter? Yes, they certainly can. Let’s discuss the different kinds of MERV ratings air filters can have and which airborne contaminants they trap.

Understanding MERV Ratings

HVAC air filters can have a MERV rating ranging from 1 to 20. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles the filter will trap. These filters are often clumped into groups according to particle size:

  • MERV 1-4
  • MERV 5-8
  • MERV 9-12
  • MERV 13-16
  • MERV 17-20

Does your air conditioner help improve indoor air quality when it has a MERV rating of one to four? While these filters have the ability to remove particles of a larger size, such as pollen and dust mites, they are limited in what they can trap. For example, pet dander and mold spores still have a high chance of getting into your home. If you have allergies or asthma, you’ll definitely want to install an air filter with a higher MERV rating than this.

If you’re concerned about allergies or asthma, you might want to opt for a filter with a MERV rating of eight to 12. These filters will help remove the particles listed above, as well as many others, such as lead dust and mold spores.

Does your air conditioner help improve indoor air quality if it has a MERV 13 air filter? While you might think filters with a higher MERV rating are the best option, that isn’t always the case. Filters with a MERV rating of 13 and above typically aren’t suitable for residential buildings. These filters can significantly restrict airflow, eventually affecting your air conditioner’s performance and energy efficiency.

The Right AC Can Also Help With Humidity Problems

Does the air in your home tend to feel sticky and humid? High humidity levels are certainly a cause for concern since this issue can lead to mold and mildew growth. If you’re dealing with excessive humidity, one solution is to install a high-efficiency air conditioner with a variable-speed blower.

Central air conditioning systems can have single-stage, two-stage, and variable-speed blowers. Single-stage air conditioners only have the ability to run at one setting: full capacity. Two-stage units can operate at two different speeds. Variable-speed units, on the other hand, can operate at a wide range of speeds.

Variable-speed air conditioners are excellent at lowering humidity levels because they have the ability to operate at a slower speed for long periods. When placed on this setting, your air conditioner will remove more humidity than if it was set to full blast.

So, does your air conditioner help improve indoor air quality regarding humidity? As you can see, the answer to this question depends on your air conditioning equipment.

Don’t Forget to Clean Your Air Ducts

The air ducts throughout your home play an important role in the cooling process. However, since you don’t actually pay much attention to these ducts, it’s easy to forget that they can become dirty over time.

If you think dirt and debris have gathered inside your ducts, it might be a good idea to schedule an AZ duct cleaning. When you keep your ducts clean, you’ll prevent various types of debris from entering your home during a cooling cycle.

So, How Can You Improve Indoor Air Quality?

There are many ways to take control of your home’s indoor air quality. If you’re looking to achieve clean indoor air, your first step might be to install an air purifier. These air cleaning devices are often available in different sizes and can help trap harmful airborne contaminants.

There are various air purification and filtration systems available on the market, each with its own benefits. Get in touch with an IAQ expert for more information about these products.

We Can Help Keep Your Home Safe & Comfortable

“Do air conditioners improve air quality?” As you can see, this question isn’t as easy to answer as you might think. While air conditioning systems themselves aren’t capable of cleaning the air inside your home, different types of equipment can help remove airborne contaminants and address certain air quality concerns.

If you’re ready to achieve clean, fresh air, don’t hesitate to contact Rite Way AC. We offer various services to help enhance the air quality in Tucson, AZ, and the surrounding areas. Improve indoor air quality with our experts today!

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