How to Improve Your Home's Air Quality
So many of us spend most of our days at home breathing poor air, contaminants, smoke, pet hair, and even mold. Very few do anything to improve their indoor air quality.
Origins of Indoor Air Pollution
Outdoor pollutants that are trapped indoors oftentimes become up to five times more concentrated. With all the time we are spending indoors making sure you are purifying, circulating, and cleaning your air from air pollutants is crucial.
Many of the hobbies we do at home place us at an even higher risk than what's already lingering in the carpet, wood preservatives and chemicals in the furniture, as well as air fresheners we use to make the home smell good. From painting your walls to painting your nails, the more you do in your home the higher the risk of air pollution. Oftentimes the pollutants aren't as obvious. If you have an older home (70’s) you have potential asbestos exposure as well as lead paint and even mold in spaces that you can’t visually see. Many of these pollutants are magnified and more harmful for individuals with asthma or allergies.
What can you do?
There are three main methods to improving air quality: Air purification, air ventilation, and humidification.
Air purifiers: Remove contaminants from the air.
Media Air Filters:
Most homes have a HVAC system which uses filters that capture dust and other particles. You probably replace these disposable pleated or fiberglass filters periodically, and like most of us probably not as often as recommended. What drives your purchase? Cost or Quality? With filters you get what you pay for. Filters are rated on an MERV scale of 1:6. The lower MERV rated filters are cheaper and only capture large particles. Spending a few more dollars will buy you an air filter than will capture smoke, mold spores, and even some bacteria.
Electronic Air filters are another option to the traditional media air filters. These filters are permanently installed in your HVAC system and use electricity to positively charge air particles and capture them on a negatively charged element. They are a little more maintenance because the filter should be taken out once a month and washed.
The HEPA air cleaners have an added activated carbon prefilter and VOC afterfilter.
Both electronic and HEPA air filters are options for people with severe allergies, asthma and respiratory issues because the finer particles are filtered out.
UV Lamps kill bacteria rather than filtering it out. There are many different options, some are installed into your HVAC system, while some are portable and plug into the wall. UV lights are very helpful during flu and cold seasons because they can kill most bacteria and viruses. Like any other light bulbs, simply replace the bulbs when they burn out.
Air ventilation: Replace the air.
Exhaust vans facilitate movement of fresh into a room. Bad air is physically removed thus improving the air quality.
Bathroom fans have an electric motor that sucks the smelly and humid air from the bathroom. There are quiet options and many come with motion sensing capabilities as well capabilities to sense humidity.
Range hoods suck out the potent odors and burnt food while cooking, as well as eliminate CO emissions.
Attic fans, or whole house fans are installed over the central most part of the home, are very powerful and effectively replace low quality indoor air with fresh outdoor air. They are used to freshen up muggy, stale indoor air by sending it into the attic while pulling fresh air from open windows and doors. Although the outdoor air still has some pollutants, the amount is less than indoor air that is many times as polluted because of pets and many other factors.
HRVs and ERVs:
Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) and Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV)use two separate air streams to improve indoor air quality and condition the air. They are the best ventilation you can invest in.
An HRV uses two streams, an incoming air stream from outside which it filters, and an outgoing air stream that exhausts indoor air to the outside.
Similar to the HRD, the ERV uses two streams but has the ability to use the outgoing, indoor air to absorb some of the humidity from the incoming, outdoor air. These ventilators are perfect for humid areas such as the southeast.
Humidification: Increases or decreases the amount of water vapor that is in the air.
Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers:
The amount of humidity that is inside the home has an effect on the home air quality. Low humidity causes dry skin, coughing and makes you more susceptible to illnesses. High humidity makes the home feel muggy and hot and promotes mold growth. Either one of these situations is not a good one and a dehumidifier will remove extra moisture while a humidifier will add moisture back into your home.
There are many affordable options for your needs that will effectively improve your homes air quality while bettering your well being. At Cold Air Central, we have indoor air quality products ready to be shipped out as well as having knowledgeable experts ready to answer any questions regarding air quality and how you can make your home and yourself breathing better.
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