When the air quality outside
is poor, especially in the event of bushfires or high volumes of pollution, it’s
important to keep indoor air quality at its best, particularly when Australians
spend 90 percent of their time indoors.
Poor air quality can lead to respiratory
conditions, including shortness of breath and aggravated asthma, and irritation
of the eyes, nose, or throat.
There are various ways that
indoor air quality can be improved, which can help manage the health of
everyone in the home or office environment. For those running an air
conditioning system can also assist in keeping the indoor air free from
nasties that might be circulating outside.
It’s a common misconception
that all air conditioning systems use outside air to cool or heat the indoor
air, however, this is not always the case. When
the air quality is poor outside, it’s still ok to run an air conditioning
system and it can assist with improving the indoor air quality.
The air conditioning system
consists of an indoor and outdoor unit, which is linked by pipes with refrigerant
gas flowing between the indoor and outdoor units. The outdoor unit consists of a
fan, condenser coil, and compressor while the indoor unit consists of
evaporator coils, a circuit board, filter, and fan.
The indoor unit pulls air into
the unit, which passes the refrigerant filled evaporator coils. The refrigerant
inside absorbs heat as it changes from a liquid to a gaseous state. To keep
cooling efficiently the air conditioner has to convert the refrigerant gas back
to a liquid again. To do that the compressor puts the gas under high pressure.
All the extra heat created by compressing the gas is then evacuated to the
outdoors with the help of condenser coils and a fan. As the heat is removed and
the gas cools, it changes back to liquid and the process starts all again. If
the unit is switched to heating mode, the process is reversed.
While air is being pulled into
and blown out of the indoor unit it travels through filters, which remove dust
and particles from the air. Fujitsu General’s Wall Mounted Split air conditioning
systems include an apple-catechin filter which captures fine dust, invisible
mould spores and harmful microorganisms that are absorbed onto the filter by
static electricity, where further growth is inhibited and deactivated by the
polyphenol ingredient extracted from apples.
Additionally, it allows you to
control temperature and assist with humidity levels in the home. While
temperature and humidity can be very uncomfortable for you, especially in
summer when the air is heavy and moist, the humidity alone can cause building
damage from condensation. Humidity can also contribute to mould growth
and radon gas,
a naturally-occurring colourless and odourless radioactive gas.
It is highly recommended that
you maintain your air conditioner by keeping the filters clean and the air
conditioning system periodically serviced by a licensed technician. For more
information on how to keep filters clean, watch our ‘how to’ video.
For those seeking additional
ways to improve the indoor air quality, here are some tips to help keep air
quality indoors at its best.
When the outside air quality
index is ok, and the air conditioning system is off, one way to improve the air
quality indoors is to open doors and windows to let the air circulate. By
moving the stale air you are replacing the oxygen, avoiding mould growth by
reducing condensation, and removing dust. With bushfires and emissions from
traffic and industries common in Australia, there is no guarantee that the air
will be fresh and beneficial as the outside quality is susceptible to the
environment. Before opening windows and doors, check the air quality index
status via individual state government websites.
Staying on top of household
cleaning can be difficult, but when it comes to your health there are no cutting
corners. Carpets and rugs can harbour chemicals and allergens such as dust
mites, some of which can become airborne. Dusting and vacuuming regularly will
help to remove these from circulating in your home. Additionally, wiping down
benches and bathrooms can remove mould spores that may impair your air quality.
You will need to clean your home regularly for this to be effective as once
there is mould it can be difficult to remove.
While the air outside may be
of poor quality, you can improve the air indoors by introducing plants to create
oxygen and remove toxins. While
pollen can be a major issue with some flowering plants, there are many other
options, such as a Peace Lily, Spider Plant, or Devil’s Ivy that offer air
purifying capabilities you may be looking for without affecting someone with a
sensitivity or hay fever. Good oxygen levels assist red blood cell production
so that they can be carried around the body to complete necessary functions.
Without it you would feel fatigued, drowsy, irritable, and find it difficult to
stay focused. It also assists to improve your immune system to fight off
bacteria, viruses, and germs to keep you feeling healthy.
With an early start to the bushfire
season in Queensland and New South Wales, air pollution is at risk of being
poor on a regular basis, you can keep yourself healthy by taking measures to
improve the air quality in your home. You may be unable to control the quality
outside, but with simple steps, the indoor air quality can be kept healthy and
comfortable all year round.
https://www.environment.gov.au/protection/air-quality/indoor-air#:~:targetText=Indoor%20air,%2C%20offices%2C%20or%20inside%20cars. https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/news/2016/indoor-humidity 
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