The three most effective ways to improve your indoor air quality (IAQ) are through source control, ventilation improvements, and air cleaners/filtration.
Reduce sources of pollution
Finding and eliminating the source of the indoor air pollution is the first and most important step to improve indoor air quality. Without controlling the source, you’re just masking the problem.
Common sources of indoor air contamination include:
- Emissions (carbon monoxide, etc.) from fireplaces and fuel-burning appliances
- Formaldehyde (used in many building materials and household products)
- Nitrogen Dioxide
- Indoor Dust and Particulate Matter
- Secondhand Smoke/Environmental Tobacco Smoke
- Stoves, Heaters, Fireplaces, and Chimneys
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Biological Pollutants
Some sources may need to be tested, measured, and mitigated by a professional, such as asbestos, lead, and radon. Many indoor air contaminants are due to improperly installed or maintained heating equipment and insufficient ventilation.
To make sure carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide aren’t accumulating in your home, make sure you schedule professional heating and chimney/fireplace maintenance every year in the fall.
While professional inspections and proper maintenance are extremely important, most of the source control is handled by the homeowner.
Here are some things you can do to remove or reduce sources of indoor air pollution:
- Always follow manufacturer instructions carefully.
- Throw away old and little-used containers of chemical products.
- Look for low or no VOC products.
- Don’t smoke inside, or better yet, don’t smoke at all.
- Provide maximum exposure during painting and other activities using chemical products.
- Clean and dust regularly.
- Remove the source of the pollution completely if you can.
- Click here to learn more about volatile organic compounds and how to reduce exposure in the home.
Modern homes are tighter and more insulated than ever. That’s why mechanical ventilation is more important than ever.
In rooms with excessive humidity, such as the kitchen and the bathroom, exhaust ventilation is crucial. Exhaust ventilation removes indoor air and humidity.
In the past, there was usually enough air leakage to replace the air that was removed by exhaust fans. Today, most homes need mechanical ventilation to bring outdoor air inside.
To bring air back into the home, you need supply ventilation, which can include heat/energy-recovery ventilators to save energy.
Whole-house mechanical ventilation exchanges indoor air with outdoor air with the purpose of improving indoor air quality.
There are three main types of ventilation systems:
- Exhaust only
- Supply only
Balanced ventilation can include a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery ventilator (ERV) to help transfer heat energy between the two incoming and outgoing air streams.
Speak with the certified professionals at Bardi for more information on achieving the proper ventilation levels for your home.
Learn more about home ventilation.
Use air cleaners and better filtration
In addition to controlling the sources of indoor air pollution and achieving balanced ventilation, you may also want to consider air cleaners and improved filtration.
There are many different air purifiers on the market, including UV germicidal lamps, plasma ionization, and media air filters.
Your HVAC system is designed to filter air in the home as it passes through the system. Air cleaners add an extra level of protection against indoor air contaminants.
First, make sure you have a clean air filter. Next, check the MERV rating of the filter. It should be at least 7. Any greater than 12, however, and you may need to modify your HVAC system to accommodate the larger filter size.
Check your air filter every 30 days to make sure it is clean. Replace or clean your air filter frequently. Never wait more than 90 days to clean or replace your air filter. If you have a media air filter, you only have to change them once a year, not once a month.
A germicidal UV light can also be installed within your ductwork to zap viruses and bacteria in the air. The UV light scrambles their DNA, effectively killing them and rendering them harmless.
Speak with the professionals at Bardi for more information on reducing indoor air pollutants and improving quality of life.
Give us a call today or click to schedule an appointment.