Indoor air quality, or IAQ, is a measurement of the pollutants in the air of a building. The more pollutants, the worse the IAQ, and the more likely the occupants are to experience a lower degree of comfort and even an impact on their physical health. Poor air quality has been linked to sick building syndrome, lower productivity, aggravated respiratory illness, and more. Achieving and maintaining a great IAQ is important for all Arizonans, at work, home, and school. The key to doing so is to identify the source of pollutants and then form a strategy to target those airborne contaminants.
Pollutants in the Home
Let’s start by getting to the root of the problem. Where do these pollutants even come from? While some of them can float in from outside, the majority of contaminants that contribute to a low IAQ are found inside the home. Some of the most common culprits are:
- Fuel-burning appliances.
- Construction dust from recent renovations.
- Excess moisture.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from certain paints, varnishes, and even craft materials.
HVAC: Friend or Foe?
Your HVAC system can potentially store these dangerous pollutants, or worse yet, distribute them throughout your entire home. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as getting rid of your HVAC. This is a system that no home can do without. One way to avoid the distribution of contaminants is to get rid of them in the first place. For example, make sure fuel-burning appliances are well maintained; older models fallen to disrepair tend to leak more pollutants into the surrounding air. Other solutions are to stop smoking inside of your home, utilize a humidifier or dehumidifier, and opt for finishes that will not emit VOCs. As these sources are reduced, your indoor air quality will improve and you can rest assured that your HVAC is distributing relatively healthy air. To take full advantage of your system, however, there are a few more simple steps to take.
Using Your HVAC for Good
Indoor air quality is greatly enhanced when you use your HVAC system strategically. The best part is that doing so is not complicated at all and you may be taking some of these measures already!
- Change your filters regularly. The design of your filters is to protect your heating and cooling system, trapping dust and other contaminants. A byproduct of this is that it works to pull larger particles out of circulation. Changing your filters every six months, more if you have pets or a big family, works to keep them functioning properly.
- Get your ducts clean. Imagine drinking out of a dirty straw, that’s what it’s like when you have dirty ducts facilitating airflow throughout your home. Even if the air is clean to start with, it could be harboring airborne contaminants as it moves through the system. Getting the ducts professionally cleaned will be a literal breath of fresh air to your HVAC.
- Invest in an air purification system. Systems like PlasmaPURE by Plasma Air are specially designed to extract harmful contaminants from the air. Unlike your filters alone, even tiny molecules are filtered out through the use of ionization technology. For people with compromised immune systems, chronic respiratory illness, or those who simply want to experience fresher air inside their homes, an air purification system can be a great ally in the battle against poor air quality.
The health and comfort of your family is the most important aspect of running your home. If you’re struggling with poor indoor air quality, our team of HVAC experts can help. Give us a call at 623-432-5202 or send us a message here to get started!