The air quality in your home is affected by a number of variables. Depending on your need to improve air quality inside your home, there are a variety of air purification and treatment techniques that can significantly approve air quality. The best first step in improving your air quality for your family is calling a HVAC professional trained in air quality issues to assess what is in your air and the degree of concern. Once that is done, an effective strategy can be developed specifically for your home.
Studies show most Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors. That’s significant in that according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, levels for many pollutants are often five to ten times higher indoors as compared to outdoors.
Asthma & Allergies
Children, the elderly, and even healthy adults can experience fatigue, nausea, headaches, scratchy throats, nasal irritation or worse from indoor air pollutants. Indoor air pollutants can also trigger allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and other irritations.
Indoor Air Quality: Where The Problem Starts
New building methods and energy saving doors and windows feature tighter construction, eliminating drafts and decreasing energy loss. This type of construction keeps out fresh air and traps pollutants inside your home. Over time the pollutants continue to accumulate and increase in intensity, sometimes making adverse reactions of the home occupants more intense.
Some of the common problems around your home:
- Bathrooms – mildew, bacteria, viruses, household cleaners
- Living Areas – tobacco smoke, carpeting, furniture
- Bedrooms – dust mites, pet dander
- Attic – asbestos, dust, formaldehydes
- Kitchen – formaldehydes, carbon dioxide
- Garage – carbon monoxide, paints, solvents
- Yard – pollen, herbicides, pesticides
Can You Fix Your Air?
There are a number of great products available to use in improving air quality. However, before you can work toward correcting any issues in your home, you must understand what problems exist in your home. There are Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Monitors that measures air quality 24 hours a day, so in a short time you can pinpoint what contaminants are in your air.
Contaminants Tested for include:
- Carbon Monoxide
- Carbon Dioxide
- Air Particulates
- Humidity Levels
Where You Can Start
According to the EPA, there are three main approaches to improving indoor air quality: source control, improved ventilation, and air cleaning.
Source Control: Source control refers to removing the source of the pollutant from the home. Examples include: not smoking indoors, and removing animals, plants, unused solvents and paint thinners.
Ventilation: Ventilation is key to decreasing pollutants that are generated inside the home. New construction techniques utilizing energy efficient windows and doors, extra caulk and weather stripping, house wraps, sealants and additional insulation all lead to decreased movement of outside air through the home. According to the EPA, the lack of air movement through homes can lead to a buildup of toxic pollutants that can have concentrations up to a hundred times greater inside a home than outside.
Air Cleaning: Air cleaners and filters are a vital part of the solution for poor indoor air quality. These cleaners remove the particulate matter that remains airborne after source control and ventilation have failed.
Your goal is going through this process is to determine what, if anything, may be contributing to creating a poor air quality environment in your home and/or your garage. Next, activate the appropriate air cleaning solution(s) to improve air quality. Finally, ensure that the air quality in your home remains high by monitoring levels on a regular basis. Clean air may result in a lessening of respiratory illnesses and will definitely improve the quality of life within your house.