Indoor Air Quality – or IAQ – represents the quality of air inside of buildings. Many don’t realize how important having a healthy IAQ is, but neglecting it can have serious health implications for you and your family.
When we think about pollution, we normally think of the outdoors. Pollutants such as ozone and diesel exhaust instantly come to mind. However, the pollutants found indoors are dangerous because they become trapped in the air you breathe regularly.
Studies have shown that we are spending increasing amounts of time indoors, one stating the average person spends 90% of their time inside! Air quality indoors is more important than ever before, and there are many steps you can take to protect yourself against pollutants.
Air Quality plays an important role in human health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are 25 million people affected by environmental hazards such as asthma each year. These cases could be prevented or reduced by the appropriate regulation of IAQ.
Let’s take a look at some information on indoor pollutants, types of IAQ systems, and more to highlight what families need to know about their indoor air quality.
Types of Indoor Air Pollutants
There are a variety of pollutants that are found indoors. Common pollutants include:
1. Secondhand Smoke: Also referred to as Environmental Tobacco Smoke, this pollutant is found when a tobacco product is incompletely burned. It is commonly found in homes with smokers, and can affect all residents of the household- whether they participate in smoking or not.
2. Radon: Radon is produced as uranium in the Earth breaks down over time naturally. This pollutant is odorless, colorless and found everywhere in low levels.
3. Lead Particles: Banned from use in house paint in 1978, lead particles can become airborne and very dangerous if inhaled.
4. Mold/Fungal Spores: Mold and fungal spores grow both indoors and outdoors. You are at a higher risk for mold exposure in areas that are wet and moist, such as in bathrooms and in the kitchen. While some types of mold are harmless, others can cause serious impacts on your health. This risk increases whenever an individual is allergic to mold.
5. Dust: Dust gathers throughout your home, and is made up of a variety of fine particles. Large accumulations of dust can lead to dust mites, and can affect the breathing of those inside a residence.
6. Pet Dander: Pet dander is composed of flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals that have fur or feathers. Houses with pets often have pet dander residue in the air, carpet and on surfaces.
7. Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Dioxide: Caused by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, these odorless and colorless gases can enter your home through your appliances.
How to Regulate Indoor Air Quality
Now that you’re aware of the amount of pollutants that can become trapped in your home, it’s time to talk about how to regulate air quality to keep you and your family healthy indoors!
While this list can feel concerning, don’t fret! There are many systems designed to help regulate indoor air quality, and practices you can implement to help keep your home safe. Investing in these tools, and spending time on these practices can help make your air fresh and clean.
Air Purifiers- Air purifiers pull contaminants found indoors directly from the air. These systems filter your air, making it better quality to breathe in. The purification process is simple, effective, and beneficial to your health, serving as your first line of defense against indoor air pollutants.
Air Humidifiers: Humidity indoors is a delicate balance, as low levels of humidity allow air pollutants to remain in the air. High levels of humidity can encourage the growth of mold spores- both having negative impacts on your health. By controlling and maintaining a consistent, appropriate level of humidity, your air is healthier to breathe.
Fresh Air Ventilators: Fresh Air Ventilators are mechanical ventilators that attach to your air distribution system. These machines introduce a controlled amount of outdoor air into the home. As outdoor air is drawn into the ductwork, an equal amount of stale indoor air is removed from the living area, keeping your air fresh.
UV lamps: UV lamps can be installed in your HVAC system’s ductwork. These lamps are important, as they can destroy harmful bacteria before it makes its way into your living area’s air.
Vacuuming: Regularly vacuuming your carpets and hardwood floors helps reduce dust, pet dander, and other pollutants that are trapped on the floor.
Duct Cleaning: In homes with a forced air system, ducts transport conditioned air throughout your residence. If dust and dirt become trapped in the ducts, the air circulating around your home will be affected. Having an HVAC technician regularly clean your ducts will lead to a higher air quality and a healthier home.
Concerned about IAQ? Call an HVAC Technician Today!
When it comes to concerns about Indoor Air Quality, having a professional HVAC technician evaluate your situation is always a great idea. These professionals can suggest the best tools for you to implement in your home, and will give you a specialized plan to combat indoor air pollutants.
Neglecting IAQ can lead to disastrous results for your health in the long term, such as development of asthma over time upon exposure to pollutants. Short term exposure can lead to symptoms such as nose and throat irritation, congestion, sneezing, and coughing. Don’t wait to take action when it comes to your IAQ, contact your local TemperaturePro Today!
The HVAC Professionals at TemperaturePro
TemperaturePro is a licensed, insured and certified HVAC company that is ready to help you with all of your HVAC needs! Our professionals have the experience to make recommendations that will increase your home’s IAQ, and will always have our customers’ best interest in mind. Contact your local TemperaturePro today to talk with a professional HVAC technician about your home’s air quality today!