As a healthy senior, your HVAC system is probably the last thing to occupy your mind. At best, occasional filter maintenance may hold a spot on your household chore list. Yet having a well-maintained, clean, and efficient HVAC system is surprisingly important as you age. Today we look at why.
Quality of air and quality of life
As we age, it becomes increasingly important to take good care of our health. Issues that a younger person could bounce back from can become long-term illnesses, or result in lengthy hospital stays. While we all know how refreshing a day in beach air or a walk in pristine woods can feel, we rarely give much thought to the air we breathe. From regular ‘city air’ packed full of exhaust fumes, to pollen and mold spores, there’s a lot of invisible contaminants we could be breathing in. While our body has some ability to filter the air we breathe, it’s often not good enough, and as we age we can become even more vulnerable.
If we’ve started to let home maintenance slip, wet spots in older homes can become breeding grounds for mold spores, including dangerous black mold. Hayfever and mild lung irritations can quickly irritate our delicate lung tissues and end up as pneumonia with a lengthy hospitalization. Seniors also have a higher risk of falling sick to viruses and bacteria that spread through the air.
Maintaining better air hygiene with HVAC systems
You may be more familiar with your HVAC simply as a way to cool or heat the home, and that can be important as you age, too. There’s even scientific data suggesting seniors are more prone to falls when homes are kept too cold. It’s common for less well-off seniors to cut the heat in their home to help manage the budget, making for a dangerous situation.
HVAC can do a lot more, however. You may recognize the term ‘HEPA filter’ from your vacuum, but it’s a common type of AC filter too. HEPA is a designation that means the filter of the unit can remove particles down to 0.3 microns in size. This means it can tackle air pollution like wildfire smoke, remove almost all pollens and irritants, and vastly improve home air quality.
Healthy lungs and a healthy heart start with great indoor air quality make you feel better. The healthier you feel, the more independent you will stay. Combined with the right indoor temperature, you can ward off mold, keep arthritis pains to a minimum, and prevent cold air from irritating delicate mucosal tissues and exacerbating illnesses.
Things to look for in an HVAC system for seniors
If you’re no longer as young as you used to be, fighting with a dated HVAC system that’s finicky and awkward is likely not top of your to-do list. There’s no better time to consider installing a brand new HVAC system than your golden years. Modern systems are not only more cost-efficient, but they’re also better for the environment.
Now is the ideal time to swap over to HEPA filters from the more common fiberglass ones. If you’re not able to do this, or your system can’t cope with the additional airflow pressures, look at least for polyester filters, which are more efficient at removing allergens than fiberglass. Be sure you know where the filters are, and that they’re easy to access if you still wish to do DIY services. Then be sure to schedule filter replacements at manufacturer-recommended intervals.
A great HVAC system is one of the best home improvement investments a senior can make to improve their quality of life and stay healthy.
Senior Outlook Today is your go-to source for information, inspiration, and connection as you navigate the later years of life. Our team of experts and writers is dedicated to providing relevant and engaging content for seniors, covering topics such as health and wellness, finances, technology and travel.