INDIANAPOLIS — During the heating season, many contractors are quick to point out the effects of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) to customers. They know there’s a good likelihood homeowners may be experiencing the dry skin and sinuses that are just two of the obvious, unpleasant affects of dry air in the home.

But as summertime and the cooling season roll around, contractors often overlook the equally troublesome IAQ issues that come with warmer weather.

By educating consumers that IAQ is a year-round concern and that there are system solutions that can improve IAQ regardless of season, contractors can help make their customers more comfortable while building trust in their expertise.

Raising awareness

Many IAQ problems are not readily apparent to homeowners because they are either used to them or the problems are invisible. Yet, once homeowners are made aware of such problems, they want to correct them.

Studies from Bryant show that in the warmer months, humidity is a key IAQ problem because microscopic organisms multiply when the humidity levels vary from the ideal, which is around 50% relative humidity.

Bacteria and molds begin to grow when humidity levels climb above 60%. The growth rate of dust mites climbs when humidity levels reach 51% relative humidity — just 1% above the ideal. Viruses start multiplying when the relative humidity climbs above 70%.

Allergies and asthma, unpleasant mildew smells, and even damage to furniture and wood can occur when humidity levels are not controlled.

Humidity control

The contractor can explain that minimizing these negative effects goes well beyond changing air filters or cleaning ducts.

With some systems available today, humidity as well as temperature are constantly monitored and adjusted to meet homeowners’ needs. The Bryant Perfect Heat™ and Perfect Humidity™ Systems, for example, combine with a Bryant Thermidistat™ to take the place of conventional thermostats and controls.

One important benefit of such a system is that humidity is controlled regardless of temperature.

With typical systems, the air in the home is only dehumidified as long as it is cooling the home to the desired temperature. For example, if a homeowner sets the thermostat at 72°F and the temperature in the home is 74°, the cooling system will run until the temperature reaches the desired 72°. Then the system will shut off, regardless of where the humidity level is at that point.

Perfect Humidity will operate to dehumidify the home until humidity levels reach the desired humidity setpoint. In cooling mode, according to Bryant engineering tests, the system can remove up to 128% more moisture per day than a typical system, removing up to 1/2 gal more moisture from the air each hour.

An additional benefit is in energy savings. By removing excess latent heat, a humidity control system will allow homeowners to set their thermostats at a higher temperature.

Every degree higher a thermostat is set in the summer will result in 3% savings on electric bills. By controlling humidity, homeowners should typically save an additional 10% to 15% on their energy bills each month.

Lasting relationships

Making homeowners aware of IAQ issues regardless of the season will help lead to long-term future relationships.

Selling a system that will control humidity year-round means customers will remain comfortable during every season of the year. This type of customer care builds loyalty and trust.

Studies from Bryant show that 70% of all consumers are willing to pay more for value-added systems. The key is to demonstrate that value.