6 Common Causes for Poor Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx

Causes for Poor Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx

A comfortable house is a great source of happiness. It ranks immediately after health and a good conscience. ~Sydney Smith

Coming home! Ah! Home can be such a retreat, a respite from a tough day at work or school. Gathering together with the people and pets that you cherish the most is special. Such a special place needs to be as safe and healthy as we can make it.

Studies reveal that several changes in building techniques and building materials make indoor air several times more polluted than outdoor. Couple that with how much we appreciate our homes—we spend the vast majority of our time indoors—homeowners should pay special attention to indoor air quality (IAQ).

Poor IAQ can irritate the sinus and eyes with symptoms similar to pollen allergies/hay fever. It can also lead to breathing difficulties, dizziness, and fatigue. Here are a few common sources of indoor pollutants and some steps you can take to improve indoor air quality.

  1. Be Careful with Allergens.

Allergens are a general class of pollutants that cause an inflammation reaction to the skin, sinuses, eyes, and throat. Often allergens are organic and sourced from living organisms. Some of the most common allergens include:

  • Dust and dander, small particles that flake off of living surfaces, including human and pet bodies
  • Pollen from grass, trees, and flowers. Pollen enters your home through small gaps, every time your door opens and can be carried in on clothes and shoes.
  • Mold spores are actively blowing about and enter your home in the same manner as pollen. Mold can also find moist, dark spaces in your home.
  1. Be Aware of Household Chemicals.

Chemicals find their way into our homes and contribute to indoor air quality. Drawing attention to some of these sources will help you make wise decisions.

  • Manufacturing items, including furniture, flooring, paints, and adhesives will give off volatile organic compounds (VOC) for several years after they are installed. There is nothing to prevent this, but remember they are contributing to your IAQ.
  • Often your garage also serves as a storage space for lawn care products, including mower/trimmer fuel, pesticides/herbicides, and fertilizers. Every time you open the garage door, small amounts of these chemicals enter your home. NEVER “warm” your vehicle inside your garage, since a large portion of the exhaust will find its way indoors.
  • Household cleaning chemicals also contribute to IAQ.
  1. Tobacco Smoke.

Smokers are aware of the health hazards tobacco smoke poses to themselves and to others as secondhand smoke. To reduce the impact of tobacco smoke on Indoor Air Quality, find a favorite spot outdoors to smoke and avoid smoking indoors.

After addressing the most common pollutants, let’s look at some top measures you can take to improve IAQ.

  1. Improve Ventilation.

Houses are built for energy efficiency, allowing very little air to enter through gaps and cracks. This allows the pollutants mentioned above to concentrate indoors. Planning improved ventilation can help you improve Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx.

  • Often extreme weather keeps our windows and doors closed for energy efficiency. But during every season, we experience a few days of relief, with very pleasant temperatures. On those days, pull the screen doors closed and open doors and windows to let in the fresh air. While fresh air is coming indoors, pollutants are migrating outdoors.
  • Be mindful of pollen and mold counts if family members have allergies.
  1. Change the Air Filter Regularly.

Your HVAC system has an air filter that removes most pollutants each time the blower circulates the air during a heating or cooling cycle. Every airborne particle trapped by the filter improves Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx. However, eventually, the dust and pollen clog the filter and reduce its effectiveness. Changing the air filter at least every 3 months will ensure most particles are removed and no longer circulate.

  1. Further Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx

Sometimes families find a need for improved indoor air quality; severe allergies, asthmas, and illness that makes breathing difficult require quality indoor air. These improvements might require professional help.

  • Dust and pollutants collect in the ductwork and may need to be removed by duct cleaning professionals.
  • If you suspect that a mold infestation has developed, removal will also require a mold mitigation specialist.
  • If pollen, dander, and mold cause severe allergic reactions or trigger asthma, talk to All Cool about an inline ultra-violet (UV) air cleaner. A UV air cleaner functions in this manner:
    • We are often warned that UV light damages human skin with prolonged exposure. UV light damages the cell walls of living organisms.
    • A UV inline air cleaner is installed inside the ductwork of your HVAC system. Enclosed in this space it cannot harm family members or pets.
    • The UV light will damage the cell walls of organic pollutants such as pollen, bacteria, and mold spores.
    • The dead cells are neutralized and more easily collected by the air filter.

Need Help with Your Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx?

Let us help you with improving your indoor air quality Katy Tx by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx

Air Purifier Buyers Guide

Air Purifier Buyers Guide

So, you are considering an Air Purifier?

If you landed on this article, you are exploring whether an air purifier might be beneficial to the indoor air quality in your home. Perhaps you have heard that air inside the average American home can be 10 times more polluted than the air outside the home and are looking for solutions. Someone in your home may have a respiratory or medical condition that warrants your attention to improving indoor air quality.

Not everyone has the “average” home environment; perhaps a local outdoor contaminant (i.e., dust/exhaust from local traffic or odors from local manufacturing) contributes to pollutants entering your home. If these or a myriad of other issues leave you with questions, here are some things to consider.

The Value of Ventilation

First, understand why outdoor air is, generally speaking, cleaner and fresher than indoor air. In one word—volume. Air molecules and all airborne particles are constantly moving and compared to the confines of your home, there is unlimited space outside.

Some particles, like dust, are heavier than air, and many will fall with gravity. Some pollutants are chemically altered by sunlight. Allowing outdoor air into your house is the best method of improving indoor air quality.

In the winter months, opening your home to outdoor ventilation is made difficult by colder weather. After all, you pay good money to keep your house warm, safe and comfortable. However, not every day is cold. There is a benefit to opening a window or door on the occasional warm winter day, letting in fresh, clean air. It doesn’t take long, about thirty minutes, to exchange the indoor air with fresh, outdoor air.

Enhance Your Air Filter

When your home was built, an HVAC system was custom-designed to handle the heating, cooling, and ventilation needs for your home’s square footage. The ventilation portion of the system includes an air filter, typically a paper filter with pleats that trap air particles as they pass through the ductwork. There are several steps that you can take to improve the efficiency of the filter.

  • Airborne particles will build upon the filter, so it is essential that you change the air filter regularly. Manufacturers recommend a filter change at least every three months but change it as often as needed.
  • All air filters are not alike. A basic filter is good, but air filters designed with smaller openings and more pleats will trap more and smaller particles. Look for a MERV rating on the air filter you purchase—higher MERV numbers indicate smaller openings and better filtration.
  • HEPA or high-efficiency particle air filters are the best available for residential HVAC filtration, but not every furnace can handle a HEPA filter. Check with your HVAC professional to determine the best available filter for your system.
  • To keep your HVAC system operating cleaning, schedule regular ductwork and component cleaning with your HVAC professional.

Do You Need an Air Purifier?

Implementing outdoor ventilation and improving the air filtration on your HVAC system are significant steps toward improving air quality. How will you know whether an air purifier is needed? Let’s look at how air purifiers function and how they can meet your individual needs.

  • While your air filter is designed to filter the air for the whole house, an air purifier is designed to cover a smaller area; from 300 to 1,200 square feet is typical.
  • Since an air purifier covers a smaller space, volume is not a problem. The openings in filters can be smaller since you are not pushing all of the air throughout the house as required by your HVAC system. Purifiers can have several layers of filtration; expect three to six layers of various types of filters. Such filters can remove objects as small as viruses from the air.
  • Your HVAC filter removes airborne particles. Some air purifiers remove particles and neutralizes them, sanitizing the air. Some purifiers use ionization or activate charcoal to remove odors, something your air filter is not designed to do.

Here are a few things to remember before you purchase an air purifier:

  • Research to find the proper size air purifier for the area/room you want to affect, with the options you desire.
  • To function properly the purifier will need some space, usually 12” to 14” from the wall, furniture, or other objects. (how will this affect the look of your area)
  • Maintenance is required, including cleaning or changing filters and general upkeep.

Or, consider the air purity of your entire home, rather than just one room at a time.

  • HVAC air quality products like an Air Scrubber are designed to be installed inside your existing HVAC system. (not taking up space in your rooms)
  • They cost-effectively impact the air quality of your entire home. (not just one area or room)
  • They require less maintenance and can be checked and maintained during seasonal HVAC system maintenance.

Need help deciding which air purifier or air quality system to buy?

Let us know how we can help with improving your Indoor Air Quality, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Air Purifier Buyers Guide