Indoor Air Quality. What Is It and How To Make Sure Yours is Healthy

Healthy air is often viewed in terms of issues such as vehicle emissions, smog, and other pollutants in the environment. However, you may be surprised to discover that your inside environment can be even more polluted than the outdoor air. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency states that levels of pollution in the home can be up to five times that of the outside levels. Since Americans spend an estimated 90 percent of their time inside, your indoor air quality is a serious issue.

What Causes Poor Indoor Air Quality?

The sources of pollution in your home may surprise you. Some contaminants are familiar. You may battle humidity during the summer months, dealing with mold and mildew as a result. You might face frustration over second-hand smoke or worry about carbon monoxide issues because of a fireplace or attached garage. While these are serious concerns, there are many other factors that can create pollution issues in your home. Some of the often unrecognized pollution sources include:

  • Decorative and construction materials – paint, wood, and other products can emit volatile organic compounds that can become concentrated in the home, especially if ventilation is inadequate. Formaldehyde, for example, may be present in carpet or pressed wood products.
  • Cleaning solutions – on their own, certain cleaning solutions may be effective, but chemicals can infiltrate your air supply. Improper combinations can pose serious health risks, especially those involving chlorine-based products.
  • Cooking – you may be surprised to note that cooking sprays, finely milled flour, and other materials emitted in your kitchen can result in contaminated indoor air.
  • Leaky ducts – breaches in the ductwork that delivers conditioned air through your home can provide an avenue for rodents and insects to infiltrate, making it possible for dander and droppings to contaminate your air supply.
  • Tight construction – an air-tight home is typically more polluted because common emissions cannot escape. While your energy performance may thrive because of today’s efficient construction techniques, your lungs may suffer.

What Can Be Done?

IAQ problems can be addressed through various equipment and management solutions. In some cases, a change of lifestyle may be necessary. In others, supplemental equipment may help in mitigating indoor air pollution issues. Transitioning to more natural cleaning products, for example, may reduce pollution issues in the home. However, a combination of air purification, effective ventilation, and careful moisture management strategies may also minimize pollution levels.

Equipment Options for Addressing IAQ Concerns

Melton Heating & Air offers IAQ support to complement your heating and cooling equipment. The following units can mitigate specific problems in many cases:

  • Air purifier – units can be selected for enhanced filtration of solid particles from the airstream. Germicidal systems also kill biomaterials such as viruses and bacteria, better protecting those who are vulnerable to illnesses.
  • Recovery ventilators – ventilation is important for addressing gaseous pollutants, and recovery systems minimize energy loss as polluted air is expelled from the home.
  • Humidifiers – IAQ can be adversely affected by dry winter conditions, making supplemental humidification important.
  • Dehumidifiers – for those whose air conditioning systems are insufficient for minimizing humidity levels, a dehumidifier may serve to achieve better air quality.

Melton Heating & Air also recommends IAQ testing for those who are unsure of where to begin in the effort to improve their home’s air supply. Additionally, preventive HVAC maintenance plays a crucial role in keeping indoor air clean and breatheable.  Call today to learn more about how to improve your indoor air to keep you healthy.