July 27, 2021

With over eighteen years of experience in environmental, health, and safety consulting, David runs Emilcott’s Indoor Environmental Quality practice. He was one of the original leaders who developed our proprietary Greenlight system for real-time air monitoring on construction sites. His experience includes performing hazardous materials surveys, perimeter air monitoring system development and implementation, remedial investigations; performing soil and water investigations, and survey design.

What is an HVAC system? How does it work?

An HVAC system cleans air through a series of filters. This means it basically circulates air through a building to provide comfort to all occupants. Comfort can be thermal (through heat) as well as through cool air. Simply put, it is an air exchange system regulating temperature and contaminants that can be found in the air of an indoor space.

HVAC systems remove moisture all year-round, but they are especially important during the summer months. Without an HVAC system, excessive moisture creates an environment for mold growth.

What is the importance of a clean HVAC system?

As people return to work, it is important to do a deep cleaning of buildings’ HVAC systems, especially those turned off during the past few months.

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, also known as MERV, is a measurement scale used for tracking the effectiveness of air filters. Typically, it has been recommended that a building’s MERV number is an 8 or 9. But since the emergence of the coronavirus, the recommended MERV number is now 13 to prevent viruses from forming in the air space.

A lot of buildings will shut their systems down overnight but typically not when temperatures are high outside. It is now recommended that all places keep their HVAC Systems running 24/7 for a greater air exchange rate. Usually, the system is responsible for just filtering indoor air. In today’s world, it is wise to bring in the outdoor air and kill the virus with heat and sunlight.

What issues arise when HVAC systems are not taken care of?

When HVAC systems are not cleaned and used properly, there is a greater chance that indoor aerosols are lingering for a longer amount of time.

Dirt and debris (when not eliminated from the air) harbor environments for bacteria and viruses. A well-functioning system reduces airborne concentrations of viruses.

A properly operated system helps individuals fight colds, flus, and viruses. With the correct amount of humidity in the air, the human body is operating in optimal circumstances. Otherwise, our bodies have to work a lot harder to keep us healthy.

How do you know when you need help?

Buildings that need this type of service include office and retail spaces, healthcare facilities, hospitals, and hotels, among other types of public places. When someone comes to help you with this issue, they should test for general indoor parameters, particulates, dust, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs.) They will also want to ensure there are no issues with odors or allergic reactions as systems are put to use. This type of testing gives clients an understanding of the state of their indoor space.

Emilcott works with other people in order to evaluate the HVAC system at hand. If it is found that people are having issues with odors or allergic reactions, Emilcott can come and investigate.

If you have questions about your HVAC system or any Emilcott services, call us at 800-866-3645 or email us at info@emilcott.com.