Whether you are gathering for the holidays, a special occasion or just a family dinner, the topic of the air we breathe has come up a time or two. While most people are mindful of the air quality in an airport, on a plane, a store or a restaurant, the air quality in our homes or those we visit sometimes gets overlooked.
According to the EPA, “indoor air quality” refers to the air quality in a home, school, office, or other building environments. The potential impact of indoor air quality on human health nationally can be noteworthy for several reasons:
- Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.
- People who are often most susceptible to the adverse effects of pollution (e.g., the very young, older adults, and people with cardiovascular or respiratory disease) tend to spend even more time indoors.
- Indoor concentrations of some pollutants have increased in recent decades due to energy-efficient building construction (when it lacks sufficient mechanical ventilation to ensure adequate air exchange) and increased use of synthetic building materials, furnishings, personal care products, pesticides, and household cleaners.
It is vital to have clean air, especially in our homes. For the best quality of life, the air that we breathe must be the purest as possible because air nourishes with oxygen the lungs, the blood and, consequently, the rest of the organs.
According to several WHO studies, indoor air is five to ten times worse than outdoor air, even in urban areas.
Among the pollutants found inside homes, offices, restaurants and leisure facilities we can number carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, ozone, household chemicals (from hygiene to cosmetics), nitrogen oxides, radon and tobacco smoke. This is in addition to fungi, mold, viruses, bacteria or animal hair. These air pollutants are harmful to health and can also cause irritants affecting the respiratory tract.
Solution #1 Filtration – Cleaning the Air
Why are masks/face coverings recommended right now? Face coverings limit the volume and travel distance of expiratory droplets dispersed when talking, breathing, and coughing. A face covering filters out particles containing the virus from inhaled and exhaled air, reducing the chances of infection.
The correlation can be made to the filter in your home. At its most basic function, an air filter removes impurities such as dust, pet dander or even bacteria from the air flowing through the system. Replacing your air filters frequently not only improves the air quality within your home but also protects your HVAC system from damage.
Clarksville Heating & Air also offers a way to Breathe Clean Healthier Air with an iWave. Reduce odors from pets, cooking and other sources. Reduce allergens, smoke, dust and static electricity. Safely Treat the air throughout the home. Kill mold, bacteria and viruses.
iWave is an air purifying device that installs in any air conditioning system. When the air passes over the iWave, ions produced by the device reduce pathogens, allergens, particles, smoke and odors in the air, creating a healthy environment without producing any harmful byproducts. iWave offers patented needlepoint bi-polar ionization (NPBI) technology and a maintenance-free self-cleaning design.
Solution #2 Keep An Optimal Humidity Level
Did you know that too much humidity won’t just make you uncomfortable but also make you sick? High humidity increases the rate of harmful or toxic chemicals in the air. High moisture levels encourage the growth of fungus, mold and dust mites, creating breathing difficulties for people with asthma and allergies.
Low humidity causes domestic ailments and causes airborne germs. Air that is too dry can be just as damaging to your comfort, home, possessions and health as the air that is too wet. Dry air can cause your skin to feel cold and itchy and dry out other mucous membranes in your body, leading to sore throats and chapped lips. Dry air can also increase coughing, wheezing and other breathing difficulties
According to the Mayo Clinic, the ideal relative humidity for health and comfort is somewhere between 30-50% humidity. This means that the air holds between 30-50% of the maximum amount of moisture it can contain. A typical instrument to measure humidity is the hygrometer. If you have the time, you can relieve stress by measuring the humidity of your environment.
Solution #3 Fresh Air
You can improve your indoor air quality by opening windows to let that fresh air in. Opening two windows on opposite sides of a room provide a cross breeze, letting the bad air out and the good air in. This can also help your system’s air filter last longer by filling your house with clean air.
It is recommended that you let the fresh air in once a day for at least five minutes. Fifteen to 20 minutes is preferable. Keep them open at night or in the early morning when the weather is cooler. Then, before things start to heat up, close the windows and draw the blinds to keep that cool, fresh air inside as long as possible.
As the air remains inside the house longer, pollutants also stay longer. This kind of air infiltration differs from home to home. The air infiltration rates also change with weatherization, the type of construction materials, and occupants’ activities. Infiltration rates are measured in air changes per hour (ACH), or the number of times the indoor air is replaced by outside air in an hour. The ACH rates differ from house to house and daily. Usually, it is seen that older houses have ACH that averages from 1 to 2. New homes or older ones that are sealed may have an ACH of 5. Remember, if the ACH rate is too low, the indoor air quality will be low.
So remember to Improve Indoor Air Quality, Filter Your Air, Keep An Optimal Humidity Level and let the Outside Fresh Air Inside.