What exactly does the “v” in HVAC stand for?
HVAC is an abbreviation for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The word ventilation refers to the process of moving air through space and replacing it with fresh air. There are many benefits to making sure you have fresh air in your home, including positive benefits on your health and protection of your property from moisture and mold.
Modern ventilation systems essentially take fresh air from the outside, filter it, then distribute it throughout the home. This is just one function of a central HVAC system. The same pieces and parts that make it possible to keep your home at a comfortable temperature year-round also improve indoor air quality.
So why is it so important to have indoor air quality? Well, for starters, the air inside the home is far more contaminated than it is outside. Surprisingly, research shows that in some homes, the air is as much as 6 times more contaminated than it is outside. That means you and your family could be breathing in all kinds of particles, airborne bacteria, and even dangerous carbon dioxide.
Another problem with indoor air quality is the presence of excess moisture. When left uncontrolled, humidity levels in the home can soar. This extra moisture in the home directly causes the growth of mold in vents, on walls, or in a number of other places.
Mold is a serious problem that can cost homeowners thousands of dollars to address. Furthermore, mold is known for triggering serious allergy symptoms, such as a scratchy throat, coughing, and a runny nose.
Excess moisture can cause other problems besides harboring the growth of mold. It can damage walls and ceilings, causing the paint to bubble up, wallpaper to lose its stickiness and fall off, and wood trimmings to warp permanently.
A ventilation system improves indoor air quality by doing three things. First, it removes the air that’s in the home on a regular schedule. Then, it is replaced with fresh, oxygen-rich air that has been brought in from the outside and filtered. Lastly, the ventilation system circulates all the air that’s in the home periodically. This ensures odors don’t have a chance to linger and that the home is kept at a consistent, comfortable temperature from room to room.
One interesting part of the ventilation process that many people don’t know about is that systems change the air at different rates, according to the size of the space and settings chosen. For example, a typical family may need 4 changes an hour, but a busy restaurant may need 30 changes for optimum indoor air quality!