Our homes are where we live, we spend a great deal of time there, it’s where we relax, and it makes sense to make this a healthy environment. Many people believe that their indoor air is better than the air outdoors, but this is incorrect. Many scientific studies have proven that the air in most homes is more polluted than the air outside! Most of use have an HVAC system to keep our homes comfortable all year round, but they need to circulate the air to work efficiently. So, if we already have a poor IAQ, the problem will only get worse as the air gets staler and more contaminants are added. When the air is fresher, it can circulate throughout the home, and people feel healthier. In this article, we will highlight the extent of this problem and suggest some ways to improve the IAQ in your home.
What are the Sources of Indoor Pollution?
The first step to understanding a poor level of IAQ is to look at the most common causes of indoor pollution. Some sources of pollution, such as smoke generated by smoking tobacco indoors, are very obvious. Others, such as the use of pesticides in the yard that have been drawn into the home, are harder to detect without professional testing. Some of the worst contaminants include: pollen, mold, asbestos, Raytheon, and other household products or appliance remain. Removing contaminants that contribute to poor IAQ can be helpful. But, if you have allergy sufferers or people with a pre-existing breathing condition in the home, they can be affected by pollen and mold spores.
How Does the IAQ Affect General Health?
We spend more time in our homes than anywhere else, which naturally means that we breathe in more air at home. When we are exposed to dirty air on a regular basis, it will have a significant effect on our long term general health. Imagine breathing in bad air for a decade or more, and what the long term consequences may be. But, many people do just that, their homes have terrible IAQ that is more polluted than outdoors, and they breathe it in for years. Even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized that poor IAQ should be a major source of concern for any homeowner.
What are the Benefits of Good IAQ?
We may not realize it at the time, but we generally feel worse when we breathe poor quality air. When the air quality is improved, we tend to sleep better, our allergies may be relieved, we can breathe easily, and there are no mold spores to contaminate our indoor spaces. Many of us may remember a time when we took a vacation where the air was cleaner and how it affected us in a positive way. Some of those feelings may be attributed to the excitement of the vacation, but did an improvement in air quality play any part?
How Can You Improve Your IAQ?
There are many ways to improve your IAQ, some can be adopted immediately, and others may take some time to arrange. Let’s take a look at a few of the most effective methods in no particular order of importance:
Regularly Freshen the Air Supply
When we treat our home is a closed system where the same air is continuously circulated, it soon becomes stale. The best way to deal with this problem is to open the windows for at least half an hour each day. This will allow fresher air into your home, and the IAQ will be improved. When the weather is cold or hot outside, you may want to limit this to the warmest or coolest part of the day as necessary. As an example: when it is hot, open the windows in the evening when the outdoor air is cooler.
Clean Up Organic Debris in Your Yard
When leaves fall from the trees or grass clippings, accumulate this organic debris can be a real eyesore. But, this can also be bad for your IAQ. Under this organic debris, mold will start to grow at a prodigious rate. This may not seem like a problem until you realize that your HVAC system draws in some fresh air from outdoors each day. So, the mold spores can be drawn into your home, and this will lower the IAQ.
Keep Your Home Clean and Tidy
In the home, we can notice the accumulation of dust on surfaces caused by skin cells. If we have pets in the home, their skin cells and hair contribute to this debris, and this material is sucked into the HVAC system. If you take a look at your air filter, you can see the type of material that is moving around in the air. If you want to improve your IAQ, vacuum your home and mop any hard surfaces on a regular basis. Also, it’s important to keep your air filter clean; this will reduce the pollution and help to keep your heating and cooling equipment in good shape.
Clean the Registers and Ductwork
The heating registers and ductwork are vital parts of the air delivery system. If they are dirty or clogged with debris, they are less effective, and that material will be circulated in the air. The registers and duct openings are easy to clean with a vacuum, but the ductwork can only be professionally cleaned and sanitized with special equipment. Mold can grow in the ducts when moisture collects there, so it makes good sense to get them professionally cleaned every few years.
Invest in an Air Purifier
Finally, you may want to take the ultimate step in the quest for better IAQ and invest in an air purification system. The cost of these systems has become affordable in the last few years, and they can make a major improvement to the IAQ. If you’re interested in an air purifier for your home, contact a local HVAC specialist today.