By Colin Martodam, ARS
Have you ever thought about the air quality in your home? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality can often be even worse than the air outside. In honor of National Care About Your Indoor Air Month this February, here are a few surprising facts to be aware of when it comes to your in-home air quality:
- According to the EPA, the air inside your home can actually be more polluted than outdoor air. In fact, the EPA states that indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks.
- There are many sources of indoor air pollution in homes: dust, wet or damp carpet, pressed wood products, cleaning products, animal dander or fur, pollen, gas stoves and pesticides, just to name a few.
- According to the American College of Allergy and the information on the website, Asthma and Immunology, 50% of all illnesses are aggravated or caused by polluted indoor air. Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to asthma, headaches, nasal congestion, dry eyes, nausea and fatigue.
- In many parts of the country, excess humidity can cause problems such as mold, which adds to indoor pollution.
- 10% of Americans have never changed the filter on their HVAC unit even though these filters catch dirt and other pollutant particles 24/7. By interviewing companies that provide ac installation services regularly, it was found that they frequently encounter filters that have not been changed for years. These dirty, overloaded filters can become a source of air contamination in your home. Depending on the unit and where you live, it is recommended to change your filter anywhere from once a month to once every three months.
Are you beginning to question how clean the air is in your home? Every home has indoor air pollutants varying in potency. Here are some ways you can reduce pollution and improve your own home’s air quality.
- Duct cleaning can improve air quality in your home tremendously. As a result, those in your home with allergies and asthma could improve their breathing.
- Mold is common on HVAC vents, which simply means there are areas of excessive moisture or humidity that are creating ideal breeding grounds for mole spores. Those sources of water, combined with collections of dust and dirt within your ductwork, are problem spots and should be dealt with as soon as possible.
- Whole house air cleaners, which can be easily installed into your home by an HVAC professional, have been shown to reduce the ill effects of indoor air pollutants.
- Installing a UV light air cleaner can help disinfect your home and protect your family from poor air quality. The light air cleaner breaks up the structure of and destroys microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi in your HVAC system.
Bottom line, if you’re not having an HVAC professional maintain your system and filters at least twice a year, you and your family could be experiencing poor indoor air quality and the associated side effects. Find a licensed HVAC professional in your area to keep your family breathing cleaner air.