Should I be Concerned About Indoor Air Quality?
The truth is that people spend almost 90% of their time indoors in schools, offices, homes, and other buildings, completely unaware that they are breathing in environmental pollutants. In fact, indoor air can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, making indoor air quality a pressing issue we should address.
Airborne chemicals, mold, dirt and dust, and poor ventilation are all common contributors to poor indoor air quality and can be found in just about every room in your house. Bad air can trigger problems ranging from eye irritation to allergies, and can even pose greater health risks. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), clean air can prevent specific diseases linked to air contaminants, such as asthma, which affects 25 million people.
What Can I Do About My Air Quality?
Taking action to improve your indoor air quality will go far to protect your family’s good health. Unfortunately, almost 50% of Americans use air fresheners at least once a week and about 40% never clean their humidifier or kitchen range hood both of which are used daily. Educate yourself with these easy and affordable solutions, and you can ensure that your home air quality is healthy and pollutant-free.
Eliminate Bad Air Sources
The most effective solution is source control, wherein you identify individual sources of air pollutants and reduce their emissions. Some sources can be sealed or enclosed, while others can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions, like stoves.
You can decrease the amount of particles circulating in the air by cleaning and vacuuming thoroughly once a week. Use simple toxin-free ingredients like baking soda and vinegar or purchase natural, fragrance-free cleaning products as an alternative to common cleaning products, which can contain over 450 air contaminants.
One of the best ways to collectively improve air quality in our world is to switch to cleaner energy sources. This includes solar, wind, and water power along with more efficient vehicles that emit fewer pollutants.
Replace Bad Air with an ERV
Ventilation is essential to removing indoor air pollutants. Even with a pristinely kept home, indoor air quality can suffer without a working ventilation system in place. Exhaust fans will remove bad air but they also remove the warm and cool air you’ve paid for! Putting a fresh air on your HVAC system can bring in unwanted humidity from outside. It can also over pressurize a tight home and cause doors to slam shut when your system turns on.
An ERV or Energy Recovery Ventilator is the Swiss Army knife of ventilation products. It can remove the bad air in your home while at the same time bring in the same amount of fresh, filtered air in, so everything stays balanced. It also “recovers” the energy, or heat & cooling from the air before it exhausts it outside and returns it back into the HVAC system saving you on your utility bills. You can add an ERV to most existing systems.
Monitor Indoor Air Quality
Make sure that you have an adjustable thermostat that can regulate moisture levels and temperatures to create a comfortable environment. Improper humidity levels and high temperatures can actually increase concentrations of particles and bioaerosols.
Filter Your Air
Clean your air filters according to your system’s recommended maintenance schedule, so that pollutants don’t clog up your filters and prevent them from performing properly. Try electronic air filters and high-efficiency air filters that have the ability to capture even the smallest of particles. Consider upgrading your heating and air conditioning system with modifications like a disposable HEPA filter that can make your system highly effective in filtering out contaminants.
Find the Right System for Your Home
By increasing and improving ventilation, you can start to drive down air pollutants and breathe easier in your home or business. However, if you have an older model heating and air conditioning system, consider an upgrade for your next home improvement project. Today’s advanced systems are more effective and actually save you money in the long run due to higher efficiency standards—which also serves to lower the collective air quality issue.
If you’re concerned about the air quality in your San Diego home or commercial building, contact Bob Jenson to help you assess the situation and make a plan for better air—and ultimately better health!
For over 45 years, Bob Jenson has been providing quality heating and air services to the San Diego community.
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