Indoor air pollution may seem like an unusual problem for the home environment, but the reality is that many of the advances in the construction industry have set the stage for polluted air issues in residences. Tight sealing can enhance a home’s energy performance greatly, but this can also reduce the influx of fresh air to keep pollutants from becoming overly concentrated. You might be surprised to know that many of your everyday household products can contribute to problems with indoor air quality.
Types of Indoor Pollutants
There are two main categories of pollutants affecting your home’s air quality. Particulate matter includes solids and liquids that can be carried in the airstream of your home. Examples include:
- Pet dander
- Insect droppings and body parts
- Dust mites
- Viruses and bacteria
- Mold spores
Some of these materials are biological in nature. Others are the byproducts of activities like combustion associated with gas furnaces and appliances, fireplaces or cigarettes. Additionally, many gaseous pollutants can be found in a residence. Hundreds of these pollutants have been identified in indoor settings. Sources include:
- Tobacco smoke
- Paints and inks
- Caulking materials
- Household cleaners
- Materials for crafts
- Cooking products and processes
Improving Indoor Air Quality
There are several HVAC products available to improve the conditions in your home. However, it’s helpful to begin with an evaluation of indoor air pollution issues specific to your residence in order to develop a plan for addressing the problems. Air sampling and leak testing can help, allowing your HVAC professional to establish a baseline measure of pollution levels. Some of the solutions to consider upon identifying these issues include:
- Air purifiers – a high-quality air cleaner can pull both particulate matter and gaseous pollutants from your airstream. Germicidal units are excellent because of their trap and kill technology, important for dealing with biological pollutants like viruses and bacteria.
- High-MERV filters – a filter that is designed to remove more pollutants from your airstream can help to reduce the concentration of contaminants in your home.
- Ventilators – a mechanical ventilator provides airflow into or out of the home to provide fresh air or expel polluted air. An energy recovery ventilator does both, providing a means of recovering heating and cooling energy from the outgoing air to keep HVAC costs down.
- Humidifiers and dehumidifiers – proper moisture levels are important for protecting you against certain indoor pollutants. Recommended relative humidity in the home is between 30 and 50 percent. When levels are too low, your defenses against biological pollutants like viruses can be compromised. When the levels are excessive, more pollutants can be harbored in the air.
- Carbon monoxide alarms – detection of the deadly gas can provide important protection to your family, especially if you have combustion appliances or systems operating in your home.
Schedule an Indoor Air Quality Evaluation
Accurate Comfort Services can provide you with comprehensive air quality services, evaluating the issues in your home and providing solutions that will improve airflow or reduce pollution levels. You can schedule an appointment or get more information by contacting our office today.