Why Is Indoor Air Quality Important?
The Environmental Protection Agency lists Indoor Air Quality among the top 5 risks to human health, probably because indoor air can be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air. While homeowners can’t see the majority of indoor air contaminants, every cubic foot of air breathed carries a mixture of millions of microscopic particles such as pollen, mold spores and dust mite debris. In small concentrations, these particles and gasses may cause discomfort in the home. In significant concentrations, they can cause sickness as these are among the most troublesome triggers of such ailments as asthma and allergies.
What Can You Do To Improve Your Iaq?
THERE ARE 3 BASIC STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE IAQ:
- SOURCE CONTROL
- IMPROVED VENTILATION
- AIR CLEANERS
Some sources, like those that contain asbestos, can be sealed or enclosed; others, like gas stoves, can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions. In many cases, source control is also a more cost-efficient approach to protecting indoor air quality than increasing ventilation because increasing ventilation can increase energy costs.
Another approach to lowering the concentrations of indoor air pollutants in your home is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors.
Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Opening windows and doors, operating window or attic fans, when the weather permits, or running a window air conditioner with the vent control open increases the outdoor ventilation rate. Local bathroom or kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is located and also increase the outdoor air ventilation rate.
It is particularly important to take as many of these steps as possible while you are involved in short-term activities that can generate high levels of pollutants — for example, painting, paint stripping, heating with kerosene heaters, cooking, or engaging in maintenance and hobby activities such as welding, soldering, or sanding. You might also choose to do some of these activities outdoors, if you can and if weather permits.
Advanced designs of new homes are starting to feature mechanical systems that bring outdoor air into the home. Some of these designs include energy-efficient heat recovery ventilators (also known as air-to-air heat exchangers).
For more information about whole house ventilation system options, CONTACT US.
Contact us to find out what products we recommend for better indoor air quality.