While there’s no disputing that high indoor air quality (IAQ) is essential for good health and well-being, a study recently published revealed many people don’t realize how common indoor air pollution is inside their homes. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified indoor air as one of the most polluted environments people encounter.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
Bad air quality is largely the result of tighter construction techniques and the abundance of chemical products used indoors, making indoor air now more polluted than outside air. The tighter the home the more you re-circulate the same polluted air throughout your home. The major problems that degrade IAQ include:
- Dust and all its components – Dust comes primarily from inside your home. It’s composed of lint, shed skin cells, animal dander, pollen, dust mite waste and mold spores. Pollen, dander and mold spores are common allergy triggers.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – VOCs are gases that many common products emit as they age, causing issues ranging from mild irritation to neurological damage and cancer. The cleaning agents under the sink or in the pantry are examples of these.
- Humidity – Humidity levels over 50 percent promote mold growth and dust mite populations, which are also common allergy triggers.
The study, commissioned by 3M, found that 94 percent of the survey participants knew that changing the HVAC system’s air filter helped improve indoor air quality, but 47 percent of the sample reported that they changed the filter less than four times a year.
In addition, 52 percent stated they used scented candles, which is a common source of indoor air pollution due to soot emissions.
How to Improve IAQ
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to reduce indoor air pollution and avoid the negative health consequences. Try:
- Selecting effective filters to trap offending airborne particulates found indoors and changing them every three months, or whenever they’re covered with dust.
- Managing humidity levels, especially in the summer.
- Using UV lights in the ductwork and/or the air handler to negate the harmful effects of VOCs and reduce the populations of mold, bacteria and viruses indoors.
- Having the ducts cleaned by a professional HVAC contractor to remove built-up dust and mold spores.
To learn more about managing indoor air pollution, contact Powers Heating & Air. We proudly serve the home comfort needs of homeowners in Peachtree City, Newnan, Senoia, Sharpsburg, Fayetteville, Tyrone and surrounding communities in Fayette, Coweta and surrounding counties.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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