When our service professionals are in your homes or offices, performing either routine maintenance, diagnosing a system issue, or making a repair, you may have heard them talk to you about the various indoor air quality options we have available. You assume because you have proper ventilation, always have your routine maintenance done on your HVAC system, and check and change your filter regularly that you don’t have to be concerned about any further indoor air quality. While all of those aforementioned things definitely help boost your indoor air quality, there are many other factors that could be heavily impacting your health through your air. So let’s get to the bottom of this and really dive into the subject…
What is indoor air quality?
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of those living and working inside them. It can include temperature, humidity, lack of outside air (poor ventilation), mold from water damage, or exposure to other chemicals.
What are the most common problems of IAQ?
Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems. Inadequate ventilation, high temperatures, and high humidity can also increase these by not bringing in enough outdoor air to “water down” the pollutants. The age of the products creating the air pollutants also can play a big role in the amount of hazardous air it releases, for example, an older gas stove will emit more toxins than a new one with higher safety standards. Other common sources are:
· Fuel-burning combustion appliances
· Tobacco products
· Building materials and furnishings as diverse as:
o Deteriorated asbestos-containing insulation
o Newly installed flooring, upholstery or carpet
o Cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products
· Products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies
· Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
· Excess moisture
· Outdoor sources such as:
o Outdoor air pollution
How does this effect my health?
It’s no secret that the above items have the potential to make us sick. Take simply cleaning your bathroom for example. You need to clean your shower glass and you’re having a hard time removing the hard water stains from the glass so you decide to try something different. You saw on TikTok that mixing Dawn dish soap and equal parts water and white vinegar gets these stains off, so you spray that all over your glass but spray your Clorox bleach bathroom foaming cleaner all over the tiles. All of a sudden your eyes start to sting, and soon feel your eyes are not only burning but watering, your breathing is getting short and you begin to cough. This reaction is because you have just created and released chlorine gas into your air. Proper ventilation is a HUGE thing here! If you have a window in your bathroom, open it. If you have an exhaust fan, turn it on. Having these things operating both several minutes prior to using cleaner and at least 15 minutes after is ideal. Even better would be to NOT use products with harsh chemicals, like bleach. That’s an easy problem to fix though. Other indoor air quality issues are not so easily treated and not so quickly felt. Health effects can be immediate like this one, with symptoms felt after just a single exposure. These are typically easy to get rid of and may include an irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. You may also experience headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. On the other hand, repeated exposure to a pollutant over a prolonged period of time can lead to much more serious health consequences. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. Those with existing conditions like asthma, the elderly, the young, and any other autoimmune illnesses are even more susceptible to becoming ill from poor indoor air quality.
What can our HVAC service professionals do for your indoor air quality?
As mentioned before, some causes of poor indoor air quality can be controlled, but some, unless they knock you in the nose with a strong odor, will go unnoticed and untreated. That doesn’t mean that your health can also ignore these silent triggers. Dust, bacteria, mold and mildew are some examples of the unseen particles that could be present in the air you are currently breathing in. A whole home air treatment system installed in your central HVAC system is an amazing addition to combat those unwanted air terrorists and keep you and your family safe and healthy. It keeps the coils and drip pans sterilized and is extremely low maintenance, especially when you consider all that it is doing for you. As mold and mildew are pulled into the system they are sterilized by the UVC light which destroys their DNA and prevents them from reproducing. Think of the gross Mucinex mascot but bigger scale, all around you, and in your HVAC. So many believe that just by driving to the nearest Home Depot and purchasing a portable air purifier, putting it in a central room in their home, or even a bedroom will change the game and have you breathing that good, good air. Well hang that super hero cape back up for a second, because while its great you’re taking the initiative to have better, cleaner air, one or two portable air purifiers just are not up for the whole job. It’s impossible for those small units to keep up with the pollutants but even more so, there’s absolutely no way it can take care of the whole house. By calling Vital Air and scheduling an indoor air quality consultation, our service professionals will come to your home or place of business, check your system and ducts for any buildup and/or microbial growth before sitting down with you and discussing options for treatment and the betterment of your indoor air quality.
Call us today to schedule your appointment so you can take control of your air, your health, and don that cape with confidence!