The indoor air quality in your Charleston home can have a direct impact on the health and well-being of your family. If your indoor air is polluted, you and your family members are more likely to experience health problems such as eye and nose irritation, throat infection, dizziness, headache, and fatigue. Long-term exposure to bad air can lead to severe conditions such as respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
In order to prevent these health issues, you need to take effective measures to minimize air pollution in your home. Find out how you can improve your indoor air quality to achieve better health and quality of life.
One of the most effective ways to enhance your indoor air quality is to get rid of sources of air pollution or reduce their emissions. Some sources, such as those that contain asbestos, should be sealed or enclosed, while others, such as gas stoves, can be simply adjusted to reduce the amount of emissions. If you find biological growth in your home, you can remove it and identify and fix the cause of the problem. Generally, source control is a more cost-efficient method of reducing air pollution than increasing ventilation because it usually does not increase energy costs.
Another way to improve your indoor air quality is to allow more outdoor air to enter your home. Most HVAC systems, including forced-air heating units, are not mechanically designed to bring fresh air into your home. Some ways to increase the rate of outdoor ventilation include:
- Opening doors and windows
- Running window or attic fans
- Turning on a kitchen or bathroom fan that exhausts outdoors
- Opening the vent control when operating a window air conditioner
It's especially important to take these measures when performing short-term activities that can produce high levels of pollutants, such as cooking, heating with a kerosene heater, painting, soldering, or sanding.
In order to improve ventilation, you need to know how outdoor air can enter an indoor space. There are basically three ways to introduce outdoor air into your home: natural ventilation, mechanical means, and infiltration. Natural ventilation happens through open windows and doors, while mechanical means include operating a HVAC system. Infiltration occurs to a certain extent in all homes. It's a process by which outdoor air enters into your home through openings, cracks, and joints in floors, walls, and ceilings, and around doors and windows.
If you're not getting enough fresh air from the outside despite making the necessary effort to improve ventilation, you can use an air cleaner to improve your indoor air quality. Currently, many different types of air cleaners are available on the market, ranging from affordable tabletop units to expensive and sophisticated whole-house systems. While some air cleaners are highly competent in removing harmful particles from your indoor space, others, such as tabletop units, are much less so.
There are two factors that determine the effectiveness of an air cleaner: efficiency in collecting pollutants from indoor air and ability to draw air through the cleaning or filtering component. A highly efficient pollutant collector with a poor air-circulation rate or a less efficient collector with a high air-circulation rate will not deliver good results. The long-term performance of an air cleaner depends on how well it's maintained.
The strength of the pollutant source also has an impact on the effectiveness of an air cleaner. A tabletop air cleaner may not satisfactorily remove pollutants from strong nearby sources. If you're sensitive to certain sources of pollutants, you may find that an air cleaner is only helpful when used in conjunction with efforts to remove the sources.
Besides improving your health, good indoor air quality can also enhance your mood, productivity, and overall quality of life. It's worthwhile to put in extra effort or purchase an air cleaner to get rid of air pollutants in your home. Seek the advice or assistance of one of our qualified indoor air technicians by calling us at M&B Heating and Air at 843-628-1775.
Image provided by Shutterstock