If you’re like most homeowners, you rely on your air conditioning system to stay comfortable throughout the hot summer months. While your air conditioner may feel like a godsend on those extremely hot days, you may be worried about how it is impacting the environment around you. There’s no denying the fact that air conditioners do create harmful air pollution.
Indoor Air Pollution
One of the most common ways that your air conditioner can create harmful air pollution is by recirculating nasty airborne debris. Items like dust, mold spores, pet dander, and other airborne particles can be pulled into your ductwork via the blower fan on your air conditioning system.
While your HVAC system may have an air filter that works to remove some of these harmful pollutants, most filters won’t completely eliminate them. Additionally, if your HVAC air filter isn’t replaced on a regular basis, it won’t do you any good as far as removing some of these harmful pollutants from the air inside of your home.
A necessary component of any air conditioning system is refrigerant. This is a substance that carries heat from the inside of your home to the outdoors and disperses it. Refrigerant is meant to be kept in a closed-loop system where it’s not exposed to the air. However, over time holes can develop in the copper piping that holds your refrigerant and allow some of it to escape into the air. Additionally, any major damage to the copper piping of your air conditioning system can allow large amounts of refrigerant to escape into the atmosphere.
Many newer air conditioning systems will utilize refrigerant that has HFCs in it. This group of industrial chemicals actually traps heat in Earth’s lower atmosphere whenever it’s exposed to the air. Over time, this will heat up the Earth’s surface and drastically change both our weather and climate. Older style air conditioning systems use a refrigerant with CFCs. These have been proven to actually create gaps in the Earth’s ozone layer when exposed to the air. This leads to ozone depletion, also known as global warming. As of right now, a refrigerant with CFCs is no longer able to be produced due to government restrictions.
Another way that running your home’s air conditioning system can cause pollution is through a chain reaction of utilizing electricity. Most electricity that homes use is produced by burning fossil fuels in power plants. When fossil fuels get burned, they release harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Therefore, any time you’re running your electrical air conditioning system, you’re putting more demand on power plants to burn fossil fuels to provide you with that power.
How to Reduce Air Conditioning Pollution
One of the best ways to directly reduce the amount of indoor pollution that your air conditioner produces is to utilize a high-quality air filter. Air filters all have a rating on a MERV scale going from 1 to 16. Choosing a filter at the higher end of the scale will ensure that it sufficiently removes unwanted pollutants and airborne particles from the air inside of your home. Additionally, you want to check the filter at least once a month to see if it needs to be replaced with a fresh one.
If you currently have an air conditioning system that utilizes refrigerant with CFCs in it, you should consider upgrading to a newer system with a different refrigerant. Another way you can reduce the number of pollutants that your air conditioning system puts off is to utilize an alternative source of energy to power it. Many homeowners are adopting solar panels that help to provide the energy needs for their air conditioning systems so that they don’t have to rely on electricity generated by burning fossil fuels.
Apart from upgrading your air conditioning system and making sure that you have the right filter in it, you can also help to reduce pollution by simply running your air conditioning system less often. A great way to ensure that you’re only running your air conditioning system when necessary is to utilize a programmable thermostat. Some other methods for reducing the need for air conditioning in your home are to utilize ceiling fans and increase the amount of insulation you have.
Reliable AC Service
Weather Masters Corp. offers reliable AC service for the whole Frederick, MD community. We also provide quality heating and boiler services, and our technicians can install and repair humidifiers. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our team.