Do You Know How Important it is to Maintain Your Central Air? A Lesson from Microbiology…

Heating and cooling systems make your life in Northern Georgia comfortable: when it’s blazing hot outside, you can be cool; when it’s freezing out, you can stay warm.

HVAC systems are important not only for comfort, but for the quality of air in your home as well. A good air handling system will not only keep you comfortable, but it will keep your air clean.

HVAC systems are not self-cleaning, though. They have filters that you need to change, and they need seasonal maintenance to help them do their job to keep air clean.  An example of the importance for a clean HVAC system comes from microbiologist Dr. Jeffery Kornacki in an article in Food Safety Magazine.

In the article, Kornacki highlights the importance of well-maintained air handling systems in food processing facilities to prevent the airborne contamination of food with microorganisms such as Salmonella and Listeria.

HVAC and Food Processing Facilities

Scientists like Kornacki think airborne contamination can sometimes occur during the processing of food, particularly in very confined areas like packaging rooms (in a facility where lunch meat is packaged, for example). Kornacki, who has worked to troubleshoot microorganism problems in over 700 food-processing facilities, thinks that HVAC systems that are not properly maintained could potentially cause airborne contamination in food processing.

For example, a food manufacturing hub’s central air system could have condensation buildup or a plugged drain system. The wet, humid conditions caused by these HVAC problems are a perfect environment for the breeding of microorganisms.  But microorganisms can also grow in dry environments, such as in dust buildup within an HVAC system’s ductwork.

In order to prevent airborne contamination, Kornacki insists that HVAC systems need to be as clean as often as possible and operate with HEPA filters. Ductwork needs to be kept clean, and condensate drain traps checked for build-up

Clean HVAC in Your Home

While you don’t need to worry about airborne contamination in your home like a manufacturing plant does, Food Safety’s article highlights the importance of a well-maintained HVAC system in any building or home.

Here are three steps you can take to make sure your indoor air quality is healthy:

  1. Change Your Filters: Always change the filters on your furnace and air conditioner before the heating or cooling season begins, and change them regularly during their season of use. Not only do filters keep your air clean, but they also ensure the longevity of your air handling system.
  2. Schedule Preseason Maintenance on Your HVAC system: Just like in a food processing facility, your HVAC system needs to be regularly checked for plugged drains, condensation build up, and duct cleanliness.
  3. Troubleshoot Problems: If your experiencing allergies or stuffy noses, you should contact a Gagne technician to discuss if your home needs additional air support, such as a whole house HEPA filter, dehumidifier, or humidifier.

While you don’t have to worry about a dirty HVAC system contaminating the food in your home, it’s important to consider the role that clean air plays in good health. Make sure that your home’s HVAC is up to par by scheduling an HVAC checkup with a Gagne technician today.