Indoor air pollutants are all around us. They include pollen, molds, fungal spores, viruses, bacteria, smoke, gas combustion by-products, outgassing from carpets, furniture, plywood, and drywall, cleaning supplies and other personal care items, pet dander, dust mites and their feces and body fragments, cockroach body parts, and more. Disgusting!
We can be exposed to a variety of indoor air contaminants from how we heat our indoor spaces, to the products that we buy, and from the way we choose to live our lives. However, some people are very sensitive to IAQ and can become ill from poor air quality. People with asthma or other respiratory illnesses can suffer tremendously from poor IAQ.
—The Lung Association®
Worse, it’s unhealthy. More than six million Canadians suffer from allergies or asthma (10 to 15% of Canada’s children suffer from asthma). Tighter building envelopes in the quest for greater energy efficiency are making things worse. We spend most of our time indoors, surrounded by the indoor air pollutants. Larger pollutants (less than 10 microns; a human hair is 30 to 120 microns in diameter) are caught in our noses and throats. Smaller pollutants are inhaled into our lungs where they can remain trapped for years.
Kenneth Maybee, the Lung Association's Vice President for Air Issues, says, “Household pollutants can have an impact, especially on vulnerable populations-young children, seniors, and those with allergies and asthma-and particularly when combined with poor ventilation, unless we take proper precautions."
There are three ways to fight indoor air pollution: 1) Source Control, 2) Ventilation, and 3) Air Cleaning. We can help with each.
Source Control - The starting point for a home indoor air quality strategy is source control. It makes sense. If you can control a pollutant before it becomes airborne, you’re ahead of the game. Source control strategies include the use of low emission paints, varnishes, and carpeting, no smoking, no pets, maintaining optimum humidity levels, regular cleaning, and regular servicing of combustion appliances, such as furnaces. Unfortunately, you cannot always control pollutant sources.
Use your air conditioner to control humidity in the summer and a duct mounted humidifier in the winter. Get your furnace serviced every fall. The most economical approach to maintenance is a Hart Heating & A/C service agreement.
Ventilation - After source control comes fresh air ventilation. According to the EPA, the air inside your home is far worse than outside air. Yet, when it’s really hot or really cold, who’s going to open the windows? It’s uncomfortable and unaffordable.
There is a solution for some homes that improves fresh ventilation without the comfort or energy costs. It’s called an energy recovery ventilator. Not only can it improve air quality, it can actually reduce utilities in certain circumstances.
Air Cleaning - The third way to fight indoor air pollution is air cleaning. Do not buy the cheap tabletop and gadget air cleaners you hear advertised. They are a waste of money. An American Lung
Canadians spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where hazardous air pollutants can exist at higher levels than outdoors. Air cleaning devices, including portable air cleaners and central filtration systems, may reduce some indoor air pollutants when accompanied by effective source control and ventilation.
—The Lung Association®
Association® paper reported that researchers found table top air cleaners “performed marginal at best and differed little from using no device at all”
We recommend a whole-house approach with a duct mounted UV light and either a HEPA filtration system or an electronic air cleaner. What’s appropriate for your home depends on your budget, comfort system, and family.
At Hart Heating & A/C, we may not be medical doctors, but we are air doctors. We know air. We know filtration. We know ventilation. And we know service. We can assemble an indoor air package that fits your family and budget. The food your family eats is regulated and inspected. The water your family drinks is tested and treated. When it comes to the air your family breathes, it’s all up to you. And when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters! Don’t wait. Call us at (806) 795-1207 today.
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