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!
In the past 20 years, an emerging and expanding body of evidence has shown that indoor air quality has tremendous impact on human health. Americans-especially infants, the elderly, and persons with chronic diseases-typically spend 90% of their time indoors where they can be exposed to very high levels of air pollutants.
—American Lung Association® report
Worse, it’s unhealthy. 50 million Americans suffer from allergies and 20 million have 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. The 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.
John L. Kirkwood, President and CEO of the American Lung Association® says, “Keeping the air in your home clean is particularly important for people with asthma or allergies, but the quality of indoor air is something all Americans should be concerned about.”
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 Comfort Matters Heating & Cooling, Inc. 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 youhear advertised. They are a waste of money. According to an American Lung Association® report, “The reviewed data provide little reason to endorse the use of inexpensive tabletop, appliance-type air cleaners, regardless of the technology they employ. In general, high-efficiency particle collection requires larger filters or electronic air cleaners.”
Air cleaning is recognized as one of the three strategies to improve indoor air quality and has become increasingly popular as specific populations of individuals attempt to improve the air quality in their residences and immediate environs to relieve symptoms associated with various diseases such as asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, and allergic respiratory disease.
—American Lung Association® report
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 Comfort Matters Heating & Cooling, Inc., 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 (763) 515-0166 today.
© 2004 Service Roundtable