When we talk about air pollution, we cite dirty factories, garbage dumps, and car exhaust as contributors to poor outdoor air quality. The surprising thing is that outdoor air may be better than indoor air. Yes, indoor air – that air that you breathe inside your home – may be more polluted than you think.
Why is this a concern? Most people spend the majority of their time inside a building, which increases their exposure to poor air quality. Fortunately, indoor air quality can be improved to ensure your health and those of your family members. When you understand what it takes to improve indoor air quality, you can keep your home safe and comfortable regardless of the season.
Understanding Indoor Air Quality
- 1 Understanding Indoor Air Quality
- 2 What Causes Poor Indoor Air?
- 3 What Happens In An Environment With Poor Indoor Air?
- 4 Can HVAC Ductwork Affect Indoor Air Quality?
- 5 How Can My HVAC System Improve My Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality is the condition of the air inside the home or any enclosed building. It has a direct effect on one’s health, comfort, and well-being. It can even influence the way we feel and how we react to things. One thing that should worry us is that there are studies that show the number of contaminants indoors is often higher than pollutants found outdoors. According to researchers, the current practices in building construction is to blame.
The design of modern buildings ensures that indoor spaces lean towards being airtight, mainly to increase energy efficiency. True, this type of construction will reduce our consumption of energy, but it also sacrifices our access to fresh, natural ventilation. When indoor spaces are nearly sealed, contaminants and other irritants become trapped indoors. Over time, their levels build up to a point where indoor air becomes much more unhealthy than outdoor air. The ductwork in HVAC systems also exacerbates things since it recirculates particulates such as dust, dirt, pollen, and dander over and over again.
What Causes Poor Indoor Air?
Many factors contribute to the problem of poor indoor air. Many households, for example, keep pets. While their companionship is appreciated, pets shed fur and dead skin cells or dander. When these particulates mix with the air indoors, they could trigger allergies in household members. Paint on walls and ceilings may also release VOCs or volatile organic compounds that affect health. Other pollutants may also be brought into the home by people through their shoes and clothing. With increased moisture, mold and mildew could also grow. Household products may also release or leave behind chemical compounds that affect indoor air quality.
What Happens In An Environment With Poor Indoor Air?
The poor quality of indoor air can have adverse effects on the health of people who live or work indoors. If they inhale pollutants, they can increase the risk of developing respiratory problems or trigger symptoms in individuals who already have health conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory issues, and emphysema. Contact with pollutants can also cause digestive issues, rashes, fatigue, or even increase the risk of cancer.
Can HVAC Ductwork Affect Indoor Air Quality?
If your home HVAC system has ductwork and it has been operational for some time, there is likely a buildup of pollutants in the ducts. It is also likely that your home has unclean air.
How Can My HVAC System Improve My Indoor Air Quality?
There is only one solution to this problem and that it is to improve the quality of indoor air using your HVAC system. Here’s how.
1. Using HVAC Air Filters
All HVAC systems have built-in air filters that remove air contaminants. Over time, filters will become clogged with the buildup of these contaminants and affect proper airflow. To avoid problems with system efficiency, make sure to clean or replace the air filter regularly, based on the manufacturer’s suggestions. Each month, inspect the filters to check their condition. Also, make sure that you purchase high-quality air filters that can more effectively trap particles.
2. Using UV Lights
UV or ultraviolet light can be harmful, but it can also be used to kill bacteria, mold, viruses, and other dangerous pathogens. Exposure to UV light naturally destroys microorganisms effectively. To keep indoor air clean and safe, use UV lamps to support your HVAC system. Call your HVAC contractor for more information about this option.
3. Humidifiers And Dehumidifiers
Indoor humidity can affect comfort. In winter, indoor humidity is reduced, which leads to dry air. This, in turn, could cause respiratory issues in sensitive individuals. In summer, the opposite happens. Humidity levels increase, creating an environment that encourages the growth of mold, mildew, and other pathogens. To help keep humidity at a manageable level, install a humidifier indoors. If your HVAC system is equipped with a feature that controls air moisture, make sure to turn this setting on.
4. HVAC Ductwork Inspections
Ductworks need maintenance and regular cleanings to control contaminants. Have your ductwork inspected and cleaned regularly by a professional. During the inspection, the technician will also check the ductwork for any leaks and other problems. If your HVAC system uses forced air to distribute air throughout your home, schedule an inspection with your HVAC company today.
5. HVAC Tune-Ups
With regular maintenance and cleaning, your home HVAC system will run efficiently without issues for a long time. Tune-ups spot problems early and fix any issues that may already be present. Keep in mind that many manufacturers void product warranties if neglect can be proven. To keep your system running smoothly, have your heating and cooling system checked and maintained at least once every year.
Call Lawes Company For All Of Your Home Comfort Requirements
Indoor air quality should be a concern for all homeowners. If you want to learn more about how your HVAC system can work better and more efficiently in improving the quality of the air you breathe indoors, call Lawes Company for an appointment.
Lawes Company is one of the top heating and cooling services providers in the area. Our technicians are trained and NATE-certified, offering you top-of-the-line services in installations, replacements, tune-ups, and repairs. Our goal is to ensure that we do our job in the best way possible, not just to satisfy our clients but also to keep your home safe.
Is indoor air quality a problem in your home right now? Call Lawes Company today to find out how we can help you.