Pay Attention to These Common Indoor Air Quality Problems
Many homeowners don’t realize this, but the indoor air quality (IAQ) of their home can actually be worse than the fresh air of the outdoors. It’s hard to believe, when our outdoor air quality isn’t even that bad to begin with, relative to other parts of the country. But if you have a modern home, it means it was built “tightly” to allow for the best efficiency for your HVAC systems—and this type of construction also allows for allergens and other contaminants to stay trapped in your home.
This is great news for your energy bills, as your air conditioner and heater will operate more efficiently. But it’s not so great if anyone in your family is an allergy or asthma sufferer. With no air being able to escape your home, contaminants like dust, dirt, pollen and pet dander get trapped inside with you, and even the healthiest person can become ill—without the right indoor air quality products and services in place.
Remember that there is indoor air and outdoor air, and the rate that one displaces the other is called the air exchange rate, and can be taken into account when trying to keep outdoor air pollution out, as much as possible, via things like air intakes and exhaust fans that are part of a quality ventilation system.
Some indoor air pollutants aren’t from outdoor air pollution, but could be from tobacco smoke. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has a disclaimer about secondhand smoke and the damage it can cause. Regardless of the sources of indoor air pollution, the VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) and the health effects they have, is something that every homeowner needs to consider.
“But, Doesn’t My HVAC System Have an Air Filter?”
Yes, but… the purpose of this air filter isn’t actually to filter your indoor air. We know, this sounds confusing—bear with us!
The air filter within your air conditioner and/or furnace is in place to protect the system itself from dust and other debris. This filter is at the intake, meaning any particles already in your home are sucked toward the system, stopping them from going any further.
This certainly doesn’t hurt your indoor air quality—actually it helps a bit, so long as the air filter is changed every 1-3 months. But this simply isn’t the purpose of this component
Common Indoor Air Quality Problems
It can be hard to imagine in this way, but your home most likely has indoor air pollution, and poor indoor air quality can lead to many issues, some of which are:
Health Issues – Whether it’s pesticides, dust mites, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, radon (a radioactive gas), asbestos and other pollutants and particulates can cause massive health effects, which can in turn lead to serious health problems for the building occupants.
Less severe issues like irritation of the eyes, sneezing or skin rashes from poor ventilation or pollutants can be bad enough, but more extreme cases may involve lung cancer, Legionnaires Disease, humidifier fever, asthma, and other lung diseases. These can sometimes be traced back to indoor environments with increased humidity levels, inadequate ventilation, and other issues.
Emissions from appliances like gas stoves (like nitrogen dioxide), or from glues and chemicals used for our carpets, walls and other building materials, as well as cleaning products and other household products we use, which can lead to a buildup of dangerous emissions.
System Issues – with a mass of pollutants and particulates going through all of your HVAC system, it can reduce airflow by clogging filters more quickly.
Environmental health is something we all need to take into account.
The Benefits of a Whole-House Air Purifier
When you think of an air purifier, you may envision small, portable units for individual rooms that you can purchase from just about any wholesaler or hardware store. These aren’t necessarily “bad” options—if you need it for a single room or a studio apartment. But you aren’t going to get the full benefits of air purification with these small units.
Rather, you need a whole-house air purifier, whether it’s an electronic air cleaner, UV air purifier, or in some cases even both. Why?
Because it’s cost-effective. Small, portable air purification units can only manage a room or two at a time. Instead of buying multiple units to place around your living space, a whole-house system can be much more cost-efficient.
Additionally, there’s no need to worry about replacing the filters and maintaining several portable units. Rather, you’ll only have one system that’s integrated right into your HVAC, and can be accessed and serviced by your professional HVAC technician.
Because it’s convenient. A whole-house air purifier typically can be integrated straight into your HVAC system or its ductwork. This means you’ll never need to worry about space being taken up by portable air cleaners, nor do you have to deal with the noise they make.
Plus, you’ll have uniform air quality throughout your entire home, whenever you need it.
An air purifier of this kind won’t be able to mitigate something like a major mold infestation. But that’s where the UV air purifier comes in. Since they’re cool and damp, your air ducts make a great breeding ground for bacteria. But a UV purifier attacks microorganisms before they ever have a chance to develop into mold or mildew.
Contact Climate Control Heating & Cooling to get in touch with a professional HVAC company in Kansas City, MO that specializes in all things HVAC and indoor air quality. Comfort & Care from the Team with the Bear!