Over the years, homeowners have perfected sealing and weatherizing their homes to keep the climate-controlled air inside the house. Sealed homes conserve energy and save the owners money by retaining conditioned air. Homes can be so sealed, in fact, that the indoor air quality is adversely affected. Once a contamOinant enters the home, the substance or particulates circulate and recirculate throughout with no escape. Occupants continually breathe the trapped contaminants, many of which are known to contribute to health problems. Once indoor air becomes polluted, the atmosphere inside the house may be 10 times more contaminated than the outdoor air. Some pollutants, such as tobacco smoke, can cause the indoor pollution rate to rise to 100 times over the outdoor pollution rate.
Indoor Air Pollutants
In addition to tobacco smoke, you home’s air quality may be negatively affected by dust, mold, bacteria, VOCs, cleaning fluid fumes, cooking fumes, aerosol sprays and household chemicals. You may have pollen and allergens in the air, as well. If your home has a musty smell while running the heating or air conditioning unit, you may have mold and dust in your ductwork system. If you believe that your ductwork is contaminating the air in your home, call your local HVAC company to perform an inspection. Your home’s air quality may benefit from a professional duct cleaning. Your HVAC professional can also perform an air quality test to determine your home’s pollution levels.
Your home heating and air conditioning systems can also contribute to poor air quality. Your home heating and air conditioning systems should be properly maintained, inspected and cleaned. Your HVAC filters should be cleaned or changed every 30 days. A clogged air filter caked with debris greatly reduces the quality of the air you breathe inside the house. Have your HVAC system inspected and maintained each year to ensure that the system is in optimal form and is not contributing to poor air quality.
Your duct system could also be contributing to poor air quality. If your duct system is excessively dirty or leaking in spots, your home will tend to get dusty. If you see particles of dust in the air, your duct system may need some attention. Your local HVAC company will inspect your ductwork for leaks and advise you regarding a professional duct cleaning service.
Effects of Poor Air Quality
The quality of the air inside your home is important for your health and the health of your family. Those who are predisposed to respiratory problems are most affected by poor air quality. Small children and older adults tend to be more sensitive to poor air quality.
Poor air quality contributes to a series of symptoms, including:
- Asthma symptoms
- Allergic reactions
- Problems for those with COPD and emphysema
- Colds and flu
- Skin and eye irritations
Exposure to certain chemicals in polluted air could show up in future years as:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
- Reproductive disorders
To further complicate the issue, those who are most vulnerable to poor air quality are also those who spend most of their time indoors. Infants and older adults may spend 100 percent of their time inside. Babies and older folks are not the only ones spending time indoors. Most people in the U.S. now spend the majority of their day inside a building. Adults and children alike spend as much as 90 percent of their time inside school, work or home. Air quality is important to maintain good health no matter where you spend your time.
How to Determine Indoor Air Quality
Air quality may be determined by a professional air quality testing battery. These tests are performed by HVAC companies and air quality specialty companies. However, you can also purchase home air quality testing kits from your home improvement store. Whether you have your air quality test by a professional or via a home testing kit, you should be aware of the quality of air that your family breathes while in the home.
Resolving Air Quality Issues
If you have determined that the air quality in your home leaves much to be desired, you can begin to plot a course of action. Your home and family may benefit from a whole-home air purification system. Portable, room-sized purifiers are also available for smaller spaces. If a member of your family is sensitive to poor air quality, an air purification system may help to alleviate breathing problems and other issues.
An air quality test may show that the air in your home is too dry. If you have static electricity in your home during the winter months, you could benefit from a humidifier. A humidifier will add moisture to the air, making the air feel warmer in the winter. A whole-house humidifier can be controlled by a device similar to the thermostat. The humidistat looks like a thermostat, but allows you to set the relative humidity levels in your home. A whole-house humidification system might also include a dehumidifier, as well. The dehumidifier removes moisture from the air and assists the central air conditioning unit in cooling your home in the summer.
To explore your options for resolving air quality issues in your Mobile AL home, call Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. We will test the air quality in your home and then recommend a clean-air solution for your home. We install and maintain humidification and purification systems. Call Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. for your Mobile AL HVAC needs.