Indoor air can actually be ten to one hundred times more toxic than outside air. Indoor air quality is important, particularly for those who have health problems like asthma or allergies. Pollen, dust, cleaning chemicals, air pollutants, paints, pesticides, cigarette smoke, and pet dander can all add to indoor air pollution as well as possibly aggravate respiratory systems. Furthermore, products of combustion from wood burning or gas burning fireplaces, gas burning water heaters, gas stoves, and gas heaters can produce toxic fumes. Plus, modern homes are better insulated, and this means that stale and dirty air can be trapped in the home.
There are several ways to deal with indoor air quality and improve it:
- Start with the Source. The first step is to start removing the source, as much as possible, of new toxins coming into your home. If a person smokes, have that person smoke outside. If current chemical cleaners give off fumes, look for non-toxic alternatives. Properly dispose of chemicals, or keep partially used chemicals tightly sealed. Use natural ventilation to bring in fresh air when possible. Open windows at night during appropriate seasons of the year in order to remove stale air and bring in cooler air. If a remodeling job is planned, study and find out which building materials, flooring, or carpets give off the least pollution emissions. Replace the air filter in your heater or cooler by following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Improve Ventilation. Ventilation dilutes stale air and indoor pollutants, and pushes stale air outside. However, bringing in cleaner air and removing stale air may increase energy costs unless there are proper modifications to the energy system. There may be individual “hot spots” for air pollution. In the bathroom there is humidity and chemical fumes from personal products such as hair spray. Consider the products used. There are less toxic products that can be used for personal grooming. In addition, products that use pumps are better than aerosol sprays. Bathroom fans can remove pollutants to the outside. As for the kitchen, fans over the stove can remove exhaust air as well. If you have well sealed house, in other words, it is tightly sealed and little fresh air can enter through small spaces, then when you use exhaust fans you need to crack windows or doors slightly to bring in fresh air. Otherwise, to equalize pressure, air may come down exhaust pipes and counteract the attempt to improve air quality.
- Change Air Filters Regularly. Another aspect of better ventilation is to use clean air filters. Air filters can remove up to 99.9% of contaminants. When air circulates through the HVAC system, there needs to be a way to filter it to remove mold, dust, and allergens. There can be filters that are part of the HVAC system, or filters in small room air filtering machines, that are designed to further filter air in individual rooms. In addition, ultraviolet light can be used to kill germs so they don’t circulate through the ductwork and air supply.
- Consider a Dehumidifier. To improve air quality, the correct humidity is also important for a home. High humidity can contribute to dust mites and mold problems. Low humidity can be drying to nasal passages. A ventilation system can help dehumidify the air.
In conclusion, there are things that most anyone can do to improve air quality. Some start with small steps of looking at what may be contributing to poor air quality and changing products used, storing products in a better manner, or changing air filters. Some may require the aid of a HVAC professional who can look at the current air heating and cooling system you have, and make suggestions.
If you're concerned about the quality of your indoor air, Rescue Air Heating and Cooling can help. Call us today at (972) 201-3253 today to request an appointment anywhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.