The coronavirus increased many people’s awareness of indoor air quality (IAQ). While indoor air quality had been a focus of the EPA and a commercial building standard for years, it only recently became a significant household concern. In fact, a recent study found that 81% of homeowners had planned to address their home’s IAQ in 2021. Mitigating the spread of airborne illnesses and viruses was a leading point of motivation, but the impact of dust, allergens and mold was equally important to homeowners as IAQ shifted from a pandemic precaution to a method of enhancing overall well-being.

Backing up these findings, the 2022 American Home Comfort Study revealed homeowners were willing to spend 65% more now on IAQ than they were just a few years ago. While many homeowners are poised to invest in their home’s indoor air quality, the consensus is that many aren’t sure where to begin. A study by YORK backed this theory, finding that over 70% of homeowners faced at least one barrier to improving their home’s air quality. As a result, most haven’t taken significant action beyond changing their standard HVAC filters, experimenting with a stand-alone air purifier or adding a few houseplants to their home’s décor. Fortunately, with proper contractor guidance, homeowners can easily realize their IAQ goals.


Introducing IAQ Products

Johnson Controls as identified filtration, humidity control, ventilation, and sanitation as the key pillars of healthy IAQ. These are often easy updates that can be made to existing or new home comfort systems with benefits that extend beyond health factors, including increased system efficiency, reduced energy costs, and extended HVAC system life. Getting started often requires a system inspection to evaluate compatibility and a conversation to understand homeowner lifestyles. The easiest areas for homeowners to improve indoor air quality typically include:



Standard, one-inch-thick filters are designed to remove large particles, but have little to no impact on allergens and viruses — two of the top homeowner concerns.

Upgrading to a MERV 11, 13, or 16 media air filter can capture up to 98% of particles, including allergens, pet dander, mold, and virus-sized molecules. Integrating filtration into an existing HVAC system is an easy entry point for homeowners to realize whole-home efficacy as compared to commonly used portable air cleaners that limit performance to a single room or specified square footage.

Determining the optimal MERV rating will be dependent on the homeowner’s concerns, climate, and the size of the air handling system to ensure proper airflow is maintained.


Humidity Control

When indoor relative humidity is above 60%, allergens, dust mites, and molds are given the opportunity to thrive — and that can trigger asthma, allergies, and respiratory irritation. At the same time, bacteria, viruses, and respiratory infections are more abundant in very dry conditions, making it important to maintain optimal humidity levels year-round. Regulating humidity levels can also improve indoor comfort and reduce the demand for heating and cooling.

HVAC-integrated humidifiers and dehumidifiers operate on established settings to automatically adjust based on the indoor environment. Some regions, such as the southeast, can opt for dehumidification dependent on local weather conditions. Additionally, the size and age of the home are critical factors to determining the optimal system component.



Airborne particles can become trapped inside tightly sealed homes, increasing potential exposure to irritants and viruses. The CDC has identified ventilation as a critical component to dilute airborne contaminations through the introduction of fresh air. Optimizing ventilation within the HVAC system not only delivers fresh air, it ensures the air supply remains free from outdoor contaminants through filtration.

An energy recovery ventilator can often be added to existing or new home comfort systems to improve ventilation and help to increase energy efficiency. A centrifugal blower increases airflow without disrupting indoor comfort preferences. Outdoor air is filtered and conditioned and a heat-exchange core is used to transfer energy from the exhaust air to improve energy efficiency.



Unmaintained HVAC systems can become breeding grounds for bacteria and mold. These microbial organisms can produce unpleasant odors and irritate the respiratory tract. Left untreated, they can also restrict airflow and limit heat transfer, reducing system efficiency.

Ultraviolet C (UVC) systems emit energy that actively kills both surface and airborne mold, fungus, bacteria, and viruses within the ductwork. Homeowners familiar with stand-alone air purification products will appreciate the ability to treat the entire home without producing additional contaminants or ozone.

This type of system also helps to maintain the evaporator coil and drain pan using a process of continuous cleaning to help extend the HVAC system life span.


Creating a Whole-Home Solution

Homeowners’ understanding of indoor air quality is on the rise and many are poised to invest in the system upgrades necessary to improve the health and comfort of their home.

IAQ benefits are maximized when components are optimized to work together as a complete system. Using a whole-home solution approach can increase well-being, optimize comfort, increase energy efficiency, and prolong system life. These benefits not only help homeowners achieve their goals for a healthier home, they can help offset the initial cost of ownership by reducing energy bills and maintenance expenses over time.