“Honey What’s That Smell?” Dealing With Household Odors

Odors in the home are undesirable, to put it nicely. They spread through your home as air circulates, bringing odors from one area into another, and it can be difficult to eliminate them completely. How to deal with household odors starts with your HVAC system and the right indoor air quality products. Sanborn’s Air Conditioning & Heating shares how to tackle these odors and keep your home smelling pleasant.

Common Household Odors

While no one wants their house to smell, odors in the home are quite common. Southern California homeowners often face various odors throughout the year, and these strange smells are often a symptom of underlying issues in the home. Some common household odors and their causes include:

  • Musty smells, which indicate indoor humidity control issues and possible mold growth.
  • Burning odors, which can be due to dust burning off furnace components at the beginning of heating season or cooking mishaps.
  • Chemical fumes and odors, from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as cleaning products, air fresheners, personal care products, furniture, building materials, paints, adhesives, and other products used throughout the home.
  • Stale, stuffy smells, which can result from airborne pollutants like dust, allergens, and even outdoor air pollution that has made its way into the home.

Odors that spread through your home are not only troublesome to your sense of smell, but they can contribute to discomfort and even health issues among home occupants. To ensure everyone’s good health and comfort indoors, learn how to deal with household odors, and implement reliable solutions for the whole home.

How to Deal with Household Odors Using Your HVAC System

The home’s entire air volume passes through the heating and cooling units multiple times per day depending on the season, providing the perfect opportunity to address odors in the process! Indoor air quality products are installed to work with the home’s HVAC system to tackle odors and other air quality issues while you heat and cool the air. When Inland Empire area homeowners ask us how to deal with household odors, here are the quality solutions we may recommend depending on the issues you face:

High-Efficiency Air Filters

Forced air HVAC systems use filters to remove contaminants from air passing into equipment for the main purpose of protecting delicate components from harmful particle buildup. While filters protect heating and cooling systems, a secondary benefit includes better indoor air quality since pollutants are removed from the air supply. Many of these particles contribute to or could be the source of the odor issues you experience. 

Dealing with household odors using filters involves not just any air filters. HVAC filters come in a range of efficiency levels, reflected by the filter’s MERV rating. The higher a filter’s MERV rating, the more efficient it will be at trapping smaller particles and in larger quantities. Particles causing household odors are many different sizes. 

  • MERV 1-5 filters only provide some removal of larger odor particles, like dust mites and pollen.
  • MERV 6-8 filters are capable of trapping odor-causing matter including mold spores and cleaning sprays.
  • MERV 9-12 filters are able to remove odor particles such as automobile exhaust and chemical fumes.

Media Air Cleaners and Air Purifiers

Filter MERV values extend from 1 to 20, but filters over about MERV 12 usually aren’t suitable for use in most residential HVAC systems. However, homeowners can gain the improved filtration of these higher-rated filters when a media air cleaner or air purifier with filtration is installed. Certain air cleaners can use filters between MERV 13 to 15, which are able to remove odors caused by tobacco smoke and airborne bacteria. 

Some air purifiers use high-efficiency filters paired with other technology to better remove contaminants from the air. Electrostatic or ionizing air purifiers add an electric charge to molecules of when air passes through, which helps the unit better trap airborne contaminant particles in the filter or cause them to fall out of suspension.

Ultraviolet Lights

Biological matter like mold spores and bacteria cause odors throughout the home. Mold can even grow inside your HVAC system and ducts, as it thrives in dark, moist locations. Ultraviolet (UV) lights are a type of air purifier that use UV energy to neutralize pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and mold. While this type of system does not remove the particles from the air supply as there is no filtration media, the ultraviolet light effectively kills the pathogens on contact so they cannot reproduce or infect people on contact.

Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers

Humidity control is necessary in many Southern California homes to control the risk of mold growth and damage caused by dry or humid air. Dehumidifiers extract moisture from the air, keeping indoor humidity levels balanced in a safe range. These units are helpful for preventing mold and mildew odors as well as smells caused by allergens and other particles, as their concentrations can be higher when air is more humid.

Humidifiers add moisture to the air when natural humidity levels are too low. This prevents dry air damage to the home and can prevent odors caused by bacteria in the air, as bacteria spreads more easily when indoor humidity levels are lower.

Use Indoor Air Quality Equipment to Improve Household Odors

Using indoor air quality products is a great solution for eliminating household odors that spread through the air. Sanborn’s Air Conditioning & Heating helps San Bernardino area homeowners improve indoor air quality with the installation of reliable, dedicated indoor air quality products. Contact us today to request an estimate.