There’s a lot of buzz about the quality of air we breathe outdoors. But what about the air that’s circulating inside our homes? The truth is, indoor pollution is a serious problem – especially since Americans spend the vast majority of their time indoors, where the concentration of pollutants can be up to five times higher.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to cut down on this pollution is to invest in HVAC air filtration. But is it really worth it? Let’s take a look.
What is Indoor Air Pollution?
Gases and other particles that are routinely released into the air come from a variety of sources, including air fresheners. Regularly breathing in these pollutants can result in minor issues, such as asthma and congestion, to serious health problems, including respiratory disease and even cancer.
In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency lists indoor air pollution as one of the top 5 environmental health risks.
Dangerous pollutants of indoor air include:
- Combustion sources (i.e. oil, gas, kerosene, coal and wood)
- Carbon monoxide
- Tobacco products
- Pet dander
- Household cleaning and/or personal products
Some pollutants that impact indoor air quality, such as dust or smoke from chimneys, originate outside but find their way into our homes through open windows, ventilation systems and cracks in structures. Additional factors such as climate, weather conditions and occupant behavior can also impact the quality of our indoor air.
What are the risks of poor indoor air quality?
The effects of breathing in unclean air can range from minor to serious. For instance, the presence of mold or mildew may exacerbate the symptoms of asthma and allergies. Others, like tobacco smoke, radon and pesticides can cause everything from respiratory and developmental problems to cancer and heart disease. Understanding these serious risks makes it much clearer how important it is to keep the quality of our indoor air as clean and pure as possible.
What’s the status of your indoor air?
If you’re wondering whether you have an air quality problem in your home, there are a few ways to find out for sure.
- Test for radon levels. This requires the use of a special device which can be purchased at your local home improvement store or right online. The cost is only about $10-$20.
- Look for the presence of mold or mildew.
- Check your windows and walls for moisture condensation. This can be a sign of a ventilation problem.
Options for Improving Indoor Air Quality
How you address an air quality problem will depend on what the root cause of that problem is. In some instances, you may be able to simply eliminate the offending source. For instance, removing moldy sheetrock or changing the cleaning products.
In most cases, however, stronger measures are needed. For example, opening your windows for a certain number of minutes each day and/or installing more fans for better air circulation.
Perhaps the easiest and most effective way to ensure that your indoor air is clean and safe is to install a whole-home air filtration system. These HVAC systems automatically and continuously filter the air, removing pollutants and toxins before they have the chance to do any damage.
If you already have an air filtration system, it’s also important to clean and/or replace your filters regularly. Doing so will not only help you maintain healthy air quality, but it will also help keep energy costs down while extending the life of your HVAC unit.
Now’s the Best Time
A change in season is an ideal time to start thinking about indoor air quality. Spring and summer may bring the promise of warmer temps and more time spent outdoors, but they also signal an increase in allergens and other pollutants that will inevitably find their way into your home. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to be proactive.
If you are concerned about the quality of air inside your home, we’re here to help – whether it’s to change a filter, install a new filtration system or simply provide recommendations for changes to your home environment. Your family’s safety is our highest priority. Contact one of our air quality experts today to schedule an in-home consultation with us.