The Role of HVAC in Indoor Air Quality and Health

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are central to providing good indoor air quality and healthy environments for the occupants of buildings. They provide thermal comfort, filter pollutants from the ventilation air, and maintain appropriate moisture levels for optimum comfort.

Currently, 14 buildings on campus are scheduled for HVAC renovations. The minimum investment cost is nearly $45 million, an average of $3.2 million per building.


HVAC is often used to describe heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. These systems include heating and cooling units, ductwork to move the heated or cooled air around, and filters that remove dust and other pollutants.

Temperature can play an important role in indoor air quality and health by impacting occupants’ comfort levels and ability to perform tasks. For example, heat increases systemic and pulmonary inflammation, possibly leading to cardiovascular disorders.

It can also promote the growth and spread of microorganisms like mold, allergens, animal dander, and bacteria. The temperature, humidity, and ventilation of indoor spaces can all influence the microbial load and make it easier for these organisms to spread.

Increasing the temperature of indoor spaces is an easy way to help maintain good IAQ and reduce exposure to pollutants. It also allows people be more comfortable and concentrate on their work. It can also be a more cost-effective approach than controlling pollutants, which typically requires an expensive overhaul of the existing HVAC system or installing a more powerful filter.


Humidity plays a big role in air quality, making it vital for keeping the indoor environment clean and healthy. Low humidity can create problems for a variety of health issues, including dry skin and chapped lips, asthma and allergies, and even odors.

Similarly, high humidity increases the birth rate of disease-causing microorganisms. This also affects the building materials, such as windows and doors.

Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air that can be held at certain temperatures. It is typically expressed as a percentage of the total moisture in the air, called absolute humidity.

In addition, air humidity also influences some other aspects of air quality, such as the survival rates of viruses and bacteria and the ability of humans to breathe easily and comfortably. For example, the virus COVID-19 is known to survive well in cold climates, but it can be spread more effectively and efficiently with high relative humidity.


Ventilation is a vital part of heating, cooling, and air handling systems that provide a range of indoor environmental conditions. Whether residential or commercial, ventilation helps control odors, moisture, and pollutants affecting the health and well-being of occupants, visitors, or employees.

Mechanical ventilation (forced ventilation) controls indoor air quality by bringing in outside air and exhausting room air. This can dilute indoor pollutants and odors and remove excess humidity.

One crucial benefit of mechanical ventilation is that it can be designed to control where intakes and exhausts occur. This can help prevent odors and pollutants from migrating into the building from adjacent buildings.

Another significant advantage is that it can be designed to exhaust contaminated air into areas that don’t need it. This can be especially helpful if a building is next to a restaurant, gas station or industrial facility where the pollutants are likely to migrate into the home or business and contaminate the occupants.


There’s an increasingly active coalition building across the country for improving indoor air quality and health. Improving air quality inside homes and other buildings can help reduce the risk of infection with COVID-19, as well as many other viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

A key part of improving indoor air quality is ventilation, which brings in fresh air from outdoors and helps release pollutants already present in the home. Contaminants that can build up inside a house come from various sources, including cigarette smoke, cooking oil, cleaning products, and certain types of insulation.

Filtration separates solid particles from liquids or gases using a filter medium that allows the fluid to pass through but not the solid. Often the fluid filtrate is recovered as a separate product, or the solid filter cake may be recycled.

The Benefits of Regular HVAC Maintenance for Your Home Or Business

Keeping your home or business comfortable is essential for the well-being of you and your family. A well-maintained HVAC system is a significant help in accomplishing that goal!

One of the most significant benefits of regular HVAC maintenance is that it can reduce the cost of your energy bills. By having your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system inspected and serviced regularly by local air conditioning companies, you can ensure that your HVAC system is runs and operates efficiently.

1. Increased Energy Efficiency

One of the enormous benefits of regular HVAC maintenance for your home or business is improving energy efficiency. It is estimated that facilities that regularly complete their maintenance will use at least 15 to 20 percent less energy than those that have not been maintained.

This is especially true of chillers, typically the most extensive electricity user in a facility.

You can dramatically reduce their energy consumption by cleaning the water-cooled condensers on these chillers. This helps keep your energy costs low while also helping the environment.

2. Lower Energy Bills

Your HVAC system is one of the most expensive parts of your home, accounting for a significant portion of your energy bill. That means regular HVAC maintenance is a meaningful way to save money in the long run.

A well-maintained HVAC system is more efficient and uses less energy to heat or cool your home. This saves you money on your energy bills and extends the life of your system, reducing costly repairs and replacements.

You can also improve your HVAC efficiency by ensuring your home is insulated. This prevents heat from escaping during the winter and keeps cool air inside during the summer, making your system work less to maintain your desired temperature.

3. Increased Comfort

One of the most important responsibilities you have as a homeowner is keeping your home comfortable and healthy. Nothing can be more deflating than waking up to find your house has turned into an icebox, which you want to avoid at all costs.

Having your HVAC system inspected, cleaned, and maintained regularly can save you a bundle in the long run. Not only will it keep your ductwork and equipment in top condition, but it can also help to improve energy efficiency. The best part is that the cost of a maintenance plan is much cheaper than the cost of fixing your system after it breaks down on you. The benefits are multiplied if you own multiple properties. To learn more about the advantages of preventive maintenance for your home or business, call Cook’s Comfort Systems, Inc.

4. Reduced Risk of Breakdown

When your HVAC system is regularly maintained, it is less likely to break down suddenly. This reduces the risk of paying for expensive emergency repairs, saving you money.

This is especially important for businesses in high-hazard industries that depend on their equipment to operate smoothly. The business interruption that comes with a breakdown can be devastating.

FM Global reports that boiler and machinery breakdown was responsible for one-third of all large losses experienced by clients in 2018. These losses can be particularly damaging for organizations that rely on their equipment to provide essential services.

5. Increased Home Value

Unlike some home improvements that only add up to a slight increase in value, HVAC upgrades can help you build more equity. They could make you more money than they cost to install.

Aside from the increased value, a new HVAC system can also help you sell your home more quickly. This makes it an intelligent investment for homeowners looking to get the most for their money when they decide to put their house on the market.

In addition to making your home more energy-efficient and comfortable, regular HVAC maintenance will extend the life of your system. It also reduces the likelihood of breakdowns, which can be costly and inconvenient.

Common HVAC Problems and Their Remedies

When repairing or maintaining your air conditioning unit, you will encounter a number of typical HVAC issues. Among these problems are slow-to-fast tapping noise, refrigerant leakage, a dirty air filter, and ignition issues. If you are having difficulty with any of these issues, there are a variety of solutions available in home AC repair in Chicago. Below are common HVAC Problems and their remedies;

Leaking Refrigerant

Leaking refrigerant in HVAC systems is a problem requiring professional repair. A leak can be hazardous to you and your loved ones. It can also be environmentally hazardous. The longer you operate a system without repairing it, the costlier the repair will be.

If your home is cooled by an air conditioner, you may have observed a performance decline. This is because the refrigerant charge is low. To fix this, you must locate the source of the leak.

Leak detection is not always simple. Many components of an air conditioner can degrade and corrode over time. Initially, they may not manifest, especially if the unit is new.

An increase in your utility bills is a further indication of a refrigerant leak. Your air conditioner will work harder and consume more energy to cool the home.

Ignition Problems

Ignition issues in HVAC systems can be frustrating. While there is no single solution to every problem, there are a number of straightforward troubleshooting steps that can be employed. Identifying the cause of the issue can assist you in describing the situation to the HVAC service technician.

The failure of the ignitor is one of the most common problems. The ignitor is responsible for providing the furnace with heat. A defective ignitor may cause a delayed ignition or even shut down the system.

If the ignitor does not ignite, you should determine if the temperature sensor is malfunctioning. Debris can interfere with the sensor’s ability to measure the temperature of the air. In addition, if the filter is clogged, the furnace may not receive sufficient airflow.

The Response of Ducts to a Change in Temperature

What is there to say about ducts? They are functional and efficient, but they are not without flaws. Moisture is one of the major problems. Moisture-prone ducts have difficulty performing at their maximum capacity. The key is to avoid moisture from the start. In addition, it is wise to control the humidity level in your home. Fortunately, the EPA has a few recommendations.

Installing a moisture control system is one of the best ways to keep moisture out of your air ducts. In addition to reducing the risk of mold and mildew, you will also improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your HVAC system. This is also the best time to check for holes in your air ducts.

Slow-to-Quickly Tapping Sound

When you turn on your HVAC system, if you hear tapping or thumping, there are a few things you can do to fix it. First, it is best to have a qualified technician inspect your system. Second, you can attempt to reduce noise levels. Installing soundproofing panels and strategically placing bushes around your air conditioner, for instance, can help reduce noise.

Additionally, you should inspect your unit for loose screws or bolts. These may be hazardous. They can cause damage to electrical components, which may lead to larger issues in the future.

If your air conditioning unit makes a clicking sound, the fan may be striking a metal component inside your home. This may also be the result of a defective thermostat or capacitor.

A Soiled Air Filter

A common issue with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems is a dirty air filter. It can cause overheating, malfunction, and eventual unit failure. Moreover, a dirty air filter can result in poor indoor air quality.

The primary function of an air filter is to purify the indoor air. This process traps dust and dirt and recirculates them throughout the house. This could make you and your loved ones sick.

Your air filter is also intended to prevent damage to your HVAC system. You can also extend the life of your air conditioner by regularly replacing the filters. Changing your air filter is one of the simplest ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home.

The accumulation of dust and allergens in your home is one of the primary causes of a soiled air filter. Dust and allergens can cause respiratory problems and allergy symptoms.