Indoor Air Quality or IAQ gets highly affected by pollutants present in the air. According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air carries two to five times more pollutants than outdoor air. As we all spend more time indoors, it is crucial to improve indoor air quality to reduce the risk of asthma, allergies, respiratory issues, headaches, nausea, and other health concerns.
There are many solutions available in the market to improve IAQ but one solution that is readily available in our homes is your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning). HVAC Systems help you in improving the IAQ and provide you with an optimal level of breathable air. In this article, we’re going to talk about the causes of poor Indoor Air Quality and the solutions you can adopt to boost the IAQ.
Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality:
There can be many causes for the deteriorating quality of your indoor air.
- Inadequate Ventilation can be a major source of poor IAQ. Lack of fresh air from outdoors leads to the accumulation of indoor pollutants and can also cause many health issues.
- Indoor Smoking is one main reason for indoor pollution which gives rise to poor IAQ. The particulate materials and harmful materials in secondhand smoke can affect the health of asthma patients and elderly people.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are gases that are emitted from certain household products such as paints, building materials, carpets, furniture, and adhesives. VOCs can be the root of many health conditions like eye, throat, and nose irritation, dizziness, and headaches.
- Mold grows in humid and damp environments. Mold, mildew, dust mites, pet dander, and hair can lead to airborne particulate causing many health issues for those who have chronic breathing problems.
Ways to improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Here are some ways you can practice to achieve better IAQ.
Regular HVAC Maintenance:
Regular maintenance of your HVAC is crucial for improved IAQ. When you don’t get your HVAC system cleaned; dust, debris, and other pollutants can accumulate in the ductwork leading to the circulation of air pollutants in the air.
Regular maintenance will help in keeping the system clean and working optimally and increase its efficiency.
High-Quality Air Filters:
Changing air filters regularly is essential for improved IAQ. These filters are designed to capture dust, pet dander, pollen, and other dirt particles. Some Air-filters with higher MERV ratings can even capture microorganisms that HVAC systems are unable to detect.
Air Purifiers can be best for your house. You can align them with your HVAC system to collect viruses, bacteria, mold spores, and VOCs.
Humidity is a serious issue when it comes to Indoor Air Quality. If your room is more than 60% humid, it can lead to the growth of mold. You can buy a dehumidifier to control the humidity.
If the humidity of your room is less than 30%, it can cause dryness in your eyes, throat irritation, and nasal bleeding. In this case, you should buy a humidifier to keep the air warm and moist enough to enhance the IAQ.
You can control the source of harmful gases for better IAQ. Avoid smoking indoors, lessen the usage of stoves, and control the VOCs. It can improve IAQ drastically and is pretty cost-effective.
Seal the leaks:
Check for any leaks in the ductwork of your HVAC System. This way, you can avoid infiltration of outdoor pollutants and let the HVAC do its best. Any leaks present in your HVAC system can also lead to mold formation.
If you find any mold in your ducts, call a professional technician to remove it. They have the right chemicals and expertise to do the work and they can also identify the source of the leakage and seal it to prevent it from any future leakage.
Proper ventilation is mandatory for High IAQ. Many mechanical ventilation systems come with HVAC to push out stale air from your living space and pump fresh air into it.
Opening windows and doors is also highly recommended for ventilation and keeping the fresh air in your space.
Enhancing Indoor Air Quality is crucial for healthy breathing. The solutions that we discussed above may vary depending on the location, building material, and existing IAQ situations. You can address the underlying causes and opt for the solution that adheres best to your needs. You should call a professional HVAC technician for customized IAQ Recommendations.