Indoor Air Quality 101: What Homeowners Should Know
Indoor air quality is possibly one of the most misunderstood and under-rated aspects of home comfort and health. Even though not many understand it very well, indoor air quality (IAQ) is a crucial and delicate matter. For instance, the wrong kind of air filter can easily damage your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. An inefficient or inappropriate air filter can eventually cause clogging in the coils, blowers, and motors. The clog can then burn out motors and damage controls as a result of restricted airflow and function.
In terms of air quality itself, air filters are meant to filter out contaminants to keep them from flowing with the air that enters your indoor spaces. Furthermore, good indoor air quality is achieved with the collective performance of the home’s entire HVAC system. If any component of the system is compromised as a result of ineffective air filters, then IAQ is also affected.
The Importance of Good Indoor Air Quality
Pollution can be found not only outdoors but inside homes and buildings, too. Good indoor air quality would indicate that there is little to no pollutant present in your home. IAQ and HVAC work together to keep your indoor environment healthy. A sound HVAC system produces good IAQ. Maintaining good IAQ is essential for keeping the HVAC system efficient.
People spend about 90 percent of their lives indoors. An average person breathes in more than 3,500 gallons of air daily. This is why it’s essential to pay more attention to the quality of the air you breathe. Bad IAQ can lead to various issues, including the following:
Respiratory problems such as asthma, lung irritation, and allergies
High energy costs
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for improving indoor air quality. Different homes have different configurations, requiring different approaches and systems. By having a reliable HVAC company inspect your home and test air quality, you’ll know the right system that will provide good IAQ. However, there are also things you can do to help eliminate and prevent problems related to bad indoor air quality.
Problem #1: Bad Ventilation
Symptoms of bad ventilation include bad or unpleasant odors that may come from full and dirty hampers, litter boxes, paint, trash cans, gas, and food, among others. Stale and stuffy air also indicates that there’s insufficient ventilation in your home.
To help improve ventilation and eliminate its symptoms, here are some things you can do:
Place litter boxes away from HVAC vents.
Change furnace filters as recommended.
Clean dryer vents regularly.
Open windows and doors when the weather is good.
Install and use exhaust fans in bathrooms.
Install and use ventilation range hoods.
Air out the new carpet before installation.
Use no-odor paints.
Problem #2: Dry Air
You’ll know you’re dealing with dry air when you often experience sore throat, dry and itchy skin, and sinus irritations. You’ll also notice wood flooring cracking and shrinking. Wallpaper also peels while paint or plaster cracks. You may also experience static shocks.
The primary solution for dry air is to get a whole-home humidifier. Ask your HVAC contractor about your options.
Problem #3: High Humidity
The opposite of dry air, high humidity happens when there’s too much moisture in the air. This can cause wood home components to warp and rot; paint peeling is also typical. When humidity is high, your skin will feel sticky, sweaty, or clammy. Your allergies and asthma may even worsen.
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