It’s 2019, which means HVAC diffusers have come a long way in terms of their design and function over the years. In short, diffusers were born out of the need to keep the temperature levels of an enclosed, indoor environment consistent in order to keep you feeling comfortable year-round. Simply put, cool air is distributed throughout a given space in a consistent and even manner. They have since evolved to offer countless additional advantages to your overall comfort and well-being. Proper ventilation is crucial because it ensures that the air in the room doesn’t stagnate and become stale over time. Because diffusers allow for a steady stream of circulation, the air in the room feels crisp and fresh. This is especially important in spaces like kitchens, bathrooms, and industrial settings, where moisture, unpleasant smells, and even dangerous pollutants can easily build up over time. That being said, a neglected air diffuser can contribute to a host of health problems without proper understanding and attention. Below are the two biggest signs of improper diffusers care and how to address them in order to stay healthy
1. Mold and Condensation
Condensation occurs whenever the temperature of an air diffuser’s surface drops below the dew point of the air that surrounds it. Unfortunately, many air diffusers are made from metal, which has a very strong response to temperature change and will almost always lead to condensation—especially in very hot and humid climates. If this continues over an extended period of time, mold can begin to grow. Damp conditions and moldy environments can contribute to a host of health problems ranging from rashes and allergies to headaches and respiratory problems. You may even find that you’ve started to develop a fever or a sense of general malaise. Mold is especially concerning for people with autoimmune disease, as it can progressively worsen their symptoms. In the long term, prolonged exposure to mold can result in respiratory damage that can’t be reversed. Researchers have found that building dampness and mold can cause a 30–50% increase in respiratory and asthma‐related health conditions.
Fortunately, InviAir’s founders refused to accept this reality and knew there had to be a better alternative when it came to air diffusers. Because there were no off-the-shelf materials that satisfied their needs, they set out to develop their own proprietary composite material, which has shown to drastically improve HVAC system performance. Compared to aluminum, it is moisture resistant and has a significantly lower response to temperature change, helping to reduce condensation by as much as 95 percent. When possible, try to avoid metal air diffusers and opt for a composite material with a much lower response to temperature change. This will ensure that the air flowing out of your diffuser remains uncompromised and your HVAC system is functioning at peak performance.
2. Dust and Residue Formation
It’s easy to ignore or pay little attention to ceiling or wall diffusers after they’ve been installed, but the reality is that dust particles and sticky residue can start to form after considerable neglect over time. If your return vents start to accumulate a high concentration of dirt or dust over a long period of neglect, they will eventually contaminate the surrounding air and re-circulate it throughout the building. This process will continue to repeat itself daily, producing dirtier air each time around until it’s addressed. Not only will this compromise the efficacy of your air ducts, but it can cause a host of respiratory problems by contaminating the air with allergens and harmful pathogens. If you start to notice that your allergies or asthma have been particularly bad whenever you’re at home or work, just take a look at the diffusers. Chances are they need to be cleaned. Simply go in with a brush to get rid of the dust-buildup within the slots (just make sure to turn off the power connected to the heating and air conditioning system first). If there is a noticeable residue that isn’t budging, it helps to dip your brush into a mixture of soap and water. If you have a heavy duty vacuum, it will also work wonders for cleaning ceiling diffusers—just don’t forget to wear protective eyewear to keep the dust from falling into your eyes.
It’s easy to ignore or overlook the importance of proper air distribution, but the health implications of prolonged negligence will undoubtedly begin to settle in over time. If left untouched, the debris buildup will eventually make its way into your air ducts, which will inevitably leave you with an even larger problem that will require more time, money, and effort to fix.
Here’s a tip: next time you’re in the market for an air diffuser or grille, make sure to choose one that fits in with the overall aesthetics of your home or office. If they feel more like an integral part of the surrounding architecture, chances are you’ll feel more motivated to keep them sparkling clean and in top shape.