Maintaining air quality is every homeowner’s goal. Naturally we want the air we breathe to be healthy. However, most of us have no idea about the serious health issues that poor indoor air quality can cause or how air purifiers can help. The American Lung Association states that poor quality air, besides causing headaches, fatigue and queasiness, can also trigger diseases like asthma, respiratory infections and sometimes, lung cancer.
Scary facts about indoor air quality
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), here are some shocking facts we must be aware of, about indoor air quality:
- Compared to outdoor air, indoor air can be five times more polluted. So much for staying indoors!
- High temperature, humidity levels and inadequate ventilation are the three main culprits that increase the level of pollution inside the house
- On average, an American spends nine out of ten hours indoors
- Indoor air pollution is one of the five worst environmental health risks
- Children suffer even more, because they breathe more air based on their size, and therefore inhale more pollutants
A majority of homeowners have no idea about the risks of poor home air quality and the health concerns it poses. Considering the number of hours we spend indoors, focusing on indoor air quality is a priority.
How can you improve home air quality?
There are a number of home air quality products that help you stay healthy. They are:
- Air Purifiers
- Air Exchangers
- HEPA Filters
Since I mentioned high temperature, humidity levels and inadequate ventilation as the culprits that make indoor air pollution worse, let’s look at them in turn.
Humidifiers and the importance of humidity control
It can be tricky to achieve the perfect level of humidity inside the home. But during winter, when your indoor heating makes the already dry air even drier, staying indoors can be quite a nasty experience. As if that weren’t enough, dry air is known to cause problems. It makes you feel colder and makes you turn up the heating. Along with higher heating bills, here’s what you must fear:
- Dry itchy skin
- Respiratory health issues
- A bleeding nose
- Dry air results in static electricity and shocks
- Have a drywall? Expect it to crack
- Wood walls and flooring? Watch them warp
- Mold, which is a huge health risk on its own
As you can see, dry air harms your home and your health. Investing in a whole house humidifier can benefit you by protecting your walls and floors, make you more comfortable and reduce allergens in the air.
What about seasonal allergies? If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies or asthma, humidifiers help you breathe more comfortably. Allergy symptoms like coughs and a sore throat become aggravated by dry air, irritating the airways and lungs. An indoor humidifier can not only bring relief, but also prevent a sinus infection, which can be very painful.
Choosing the right humidifier is key to maintaining indoor air quality. This means identifying the right humidity level for your needs and proper maintenance of the humidifier to avoid bringing in bacteria and mold spores indoors.
Dehumidifiers and their role in relieving seasonal allergies
What to do if the humidity levels become too high inside your home? They create an environment for pollutants, contaminants and allergens to flourish. To prevent this, use a dehumidifier to control the humidity. This works by drying out the air making it difficult for mold, mildew, bacteria and dust mites to enter.
A dehumidifier for your entire home can be a wise investment, helping you better control over humidity levels and air quality rather than using one in just one or two rooms.
Other ways to control indoor humidity?
Identifying the warning signs of unhealthy humidity levels is the main step. Here are some ways to find out if your indoor humidity levels are unhealthy:
- You see mold or rot
- The air smells musty
- Your walls, floors and ceilings have wet spots
- You see condensed vapor on your window and door glass.
- Suddenly there are more pests and insects
- The air has a muggy uncomfortable feel
While this list is certainly not the ideal situation, remember that too much dehumidification can make the air too dry, causing its own bunch of problems such as increasing allergy symptoms and irritation of the eyes, airways, lungs and skin.
Aim for a humidity level of 50% to 35%, no less and no more. Balanced air moisture is important to keep you and your home healthy.
Highly polluted indoor air can be a silent killer, quietly breeding chronic respiratory health conditions. Pollutants can be in the form of mold spores, passive smoking, carbon monoxide, lead dust, bacteria and viruses. Most people have no idea of the damage it can cause.
This can be minimized using a high-quality air purifier which can prevent almost 99% pollutants from attacking your home. Depending on the air quality you need, air cleaners and purifiers are available as:
- HEPA air purifiers
- UV air purifiers
- Air exchangers
Let’s look at how air exchanges can help.
Air exchangers and their health benefits
When outdoor air is blocked, the air inside the home turns musty, inviting bacteria, chemicals, dust, mold, and other pollutants. At Cyril Air, we suggest investing in a high quality basement air exchanger or a whole house air exchanger to keep the air fresh.
Air exchangers basically exchange the air between the indoors and the outdoors, replacing the polluted indoor air with fresh air from outside. A high quality air exchanger will also have an air filter to filter out allergens, dust and pollution so that only clean, fresh air enters the home.
The most important benefit of air exchangers is keeping you healthy, preventing pollutants in the air that can cause serious health conditions such as asthma, lung infections/cancer and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Air exchangers also minimize conditions like dry eyes, headaches and other symptoms associated with air contamination. According to the American Lung Association, you should ensure that your home is well-ventilated to avoid building up stale air and preventing disease. A quality air exchanger promotes:
- Better air flow between your indoors and outdoors.
- Clean air indoors, exchanging the musty indoor air with fresh air from the outdoors.
- Fewer toxins and pollutants inside.
If you have a heating and cooling system installed, an air exchanger can help to maintain fresh air.
HEPA Filters – high quality air
HEPA Filters enable the highest air quality as recommended by the United States Department of Energy with their ability to 99.97% of pollutants measuring 0.3 microns from indoor air. Medical institutions that require strict high levels of hygiene use high-efficiency particulate air filters to trap viral and bacterial organisms circulating in the air.
Do you need high quality filters?
Good question! The answer lies in your filter. Is your filter clogged with dirt and dust and heaven knows what else? If you said yes, this can make your heating and cooling equipment inefficient, in addition to polluting your indoor air. Here are four critical reasons to investing in high quality filters:
- Keep your indoor air quality fresh and clean
- Make your heating and cooling system super-efficient while saving on energy bills.
- Enjoy longer life from your heating and cooling equipment. High quality filters promotes free airflow through the ducts eliminating the chances of damage through overheating or freezing
- Save on maintenance by avoiding expensive repairs. Blocked filters mean overheating/freezing in your equipment, interfering with its operation and causing it to crash. High quality filters can help prevent this.
Keeping the air you breathe clean and fresh is the first step to staying healthy, while reducing your home heating and cooling expenses.