In general, most homeowners don’t give very much thought to the quality of the air they breathe inside their homes. People usually only think that outdoor air can be polluted. But, your indoor air has a significant impact on your health and well-being. Clean air in your home shouldn’t be taken for granted. It is not out of the ordinary for a home to become polluted with mold spores, chemicals, and dust, as well as many other toxins.
Indoor air quality or IAQ refers to the overall quality of the air as it relates to the health and comfort of your family. Indoor air quality problems can result from indoor pollution. These pollutant levels are made worse by inadequate ventilation and filtration High temperatures and humidity levels also contribute to high pollutant levels.
What’s in the air you’re breathing?
Common pollutants found in homes include:
- Biological debris. mold, mildew, dust mites, and pet dander can cause respiratory irritation and trigger asthma attacks
- Chemicals, like those found in paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, varnishes and waxes, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment, moth repellents, air fresheners, and dry-cleaned clothing.
- Combustion pollutants, like fuel-burning appliances such as space heaters, wood stoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers, and fireplaces which are improperly vented or unvented. Some of these pollutants can be life threatening if they accumulate. Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and secondhand smoke are very common in your home.
- Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
- Excess moisture
- Outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides, outdoor air pollution.
Indoor Air Pollution and Health
The effects from indoor air pollutants on your health may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later. Some immediate health effects may show up shortly after a single exposure or repeated exposures to a pollutant. These effects include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, and are usually short-term and treatable. Sometimes the symptoms of some diseases such as asthma may show up, be aggravated or worsened.
Long-term effects on your health may show up years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.
Your home requires ventilation to maintain good air quality. Yout HVAC systems circulate outdoor air through your home. If too little outdoor air enters indoors, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Outdoor air can also enter and leave your home by infiltration, and natural ventilation. Infiltration occurs when outdoor air flows into your home through openings, joints, and cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings, and around windows and doors. Natural ventilation allows air to move through opened windows and doors.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
The most effective way to improve indoor air is to eliminate sources of pollutants or reduce their emissions. This can be achieved through:
- Proper ventilation – increase the amount of fresh air that is brought indoors.
- Change filters regularly to trap dust and other pollutants
- Adjust humidity to a proper level
UV Air Sanitizers
The filter in your HVAC system has only a limited ability to remove airborne bacteria and dust. That means that some of the dust and bacteria is allowed to travel through the ductwork and back into your home. The best way to eliminate virtually all of these harmful particles is to have a UV air sanitizer professionally installed. These devices use ultraviolet light to incinerate bacteria and dust particles, giving you clean, healthy air in your home that is virtually free of dust and germs.
Elevated humidity levels in your home can lead to the growth of harmful mold and mildew. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that the most effective way to curb the growth of mold in your home is to maintain the relative humidity between 30 and 60%. Having a whole home dehumidifier installed is a great way to control the indoor relative humidity in your home.
Did you know that approximately 40 pounds of dust are generated annually through normal daily activity in an average six room home? We also release ample amounts of air pollutants and contaminants during our regular daily life. Since some dust and bacteria can make their way into your ductwork despite the presence of an air filter, it is a good idea to have your ducts cleaned regularly to help prevent their spread throughout your home.
Regular maintenance on air conditioning and heating equipment not only improves efficiency and extends system life, but it allows technicians to prevent ventilation issues like those described above. Your HVCA system should be inspected and serviced at least twice a year to maintain its efficiency and reduce repair costs.
All air conditioning and heating systems are installed with air filtration devices, but most fall short of really cleaning the air. Even High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air filters stop only about 90% of suspended solids. Abacus has several indoor air quality and air filtration solutions available. These systems can remove up to 99.98% of allergens from filtered air, and it can be installed on most existing air conditioning and heating systems.
All our service technicians are highly trained and licensed. They are experienced in duct inspection and design and have worked on a variety of systems. Additionally, they will take steps to ensure that you, your pets, and your home remain free of contamination. They comply with clean air standards.