Steps Towards Better IAQ
Horn has been providing heating and air conditioning services for more than 40 years, and heating, air conditioning, and ventilation all play an integral role in indoor air quality. The EPA recognizes indoor air pollution as one of the top health risks facing Americans, and with that in mind, we’re going to answer one of the most common questions we get, which is how can I improve indoor air quality?
Dust Surfaces Often
Dust is a fact of life and the number one problem when it comes to poor IAQ. Think of dust like a sponge that absorbs pollutants and continues to reemit them over time, which not only leads to unpleasant odors but elevated levels of air pollution. Dust often and at least once a week. Use a microfiber duster and cloths to dust rooms from top to bottom, and then use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which will help to trap all of the dust rather than recirculate it.
Avoid Introducing Pollutants
When asking how can I improve indoor air quality, many people don’t realize that they inadvertently introduce many pollutants into their homes through the products they choose, such as chemical cleaners and furniture that may off-gas for months or even years. Be particular with the products you choose. Run exhaust fans in the kitchen, and keep them running for about 10 minutes after you’re finished cooking. Also, be careful when it comes to overwatering plants, which can easily lead to mold spores.
Modern homes are tightly sealed by design because natural ventilation, such as drafts, is bad for energy efficiency. The potential problem here is that inadequate ventilation can lead to concentrated pollution and even higher levels than you experience outdoors. Have your ventilation inspected every several years or so and consider a mechanical ventilation system to improve it.
Humidity is a concern year round but particularly during the summer months when moisture levels are elevated. While your air conditioner does dehumidify to a degree, it isn’t a dehumidifier. Operating one or more portable dehumidifiers will help, but ideally, you should consider investing in a whole-home dehumidification system. It will make your home less prone to mold, viruses, and bacteria and can even eliminate the potential for dust mites and other pests.
Consider Air Filtration
Another point to consider when thinking about how can I improve indoor air quality is that the air inside your home can never be less polluted than the air outside it without some form of filtration. In order to clean indoor air effectively, you’ll need a whole-home filtration system and, ideally, one with multiple stages, such as a medical-grade HEPA stage for mechanical filtration, an activated carbon stage for odors and gases, and an ultraviolet light stage for organisms.
Change HVAC Filters and Clean Ductwork
If you have central HVAC, your home has one or more return vents with HVAC filters, which keep dust out of the system and ductwork. The general rule is to change these filters every three months, but the better method is to check them monthly and change them as soon as there is visible dirt. You should also have your ducts professionally cleaned about every three to five years. If you have a ductless system, the filter should be cleaned every two weeks and replaced once a year.
Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Horn has helped many homeowners improve their indoor air quality through improved ventilation but also humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purification systems, and air scrubbers. Contact us today to learn more about those options or with any additional questions about how you can improve indoor air quality.